High Stakes: A Call To Legalize Marijuana

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  High Stakes: A Call To Legalize Marijuana

Posted by CN Staff on July 12, 2009 at 06:31:55 PT
By John Blackstone  
Source: CBS News 

CBS --  In Oakland, Calif., Richard Lee runs a string of businesses, from coffee shops to glass blowing that are helping revitalize the once-decaying downtown. But Lee's business empire is built on an unusual foundation: Selling marijuana.In the back of his Blue Sky Coffee Shop there's a steady stream of cash buyers, and not just for coffee. "In the front you get the coffee and pastries, and in the back you get the cannabis," Lee said.
A salesman told customers, "You're welcome to pull the bags out and smell the herb as you like."What's going on here is illegal under federal law, but permitted under California law that since 1996 has allowed marijuana for medical use.A dozen other states have similar laws. One customer named Charles said pot is exactly what his doctor ordered."So that's what relieves my anxiety and allows me to cope and feel good," he said.Lee has dubbed his Oakland neighborhood "Oaksterdam" . . . with a nod to Amsterdam and its liberal drug laws. His goal is to make this a tourist destination, with marijuana its main attraction."Does that worry people around here?" asked Blackstone."No, people around here love it 'cause they see how much we've improved the neighborhood," Lee said.Next door to where lee sells marijuana, Gertha Hays sells clothes. She says the dispensary brings people from all walks of life. "There's no particular pothead," she said, "so everyone comes over there.""So these aren't just druggies in there?" Blackstone asked."No, not at all. If you look and see who comes up and down thethe block you'll see it's so diverse," Hays said.Part of the Oaksterdam neighborhood is a nursery growing a cash crop: Medical marijuana is now estimated to be a $2 to 3 billion business in California."Yeah, there's a lot of people making a lot of money," lee said.There are now several hundred medical marijuana dispensaries in California . . . and much more marijuana being sold on the street."We estimate, overall, [the] California cannabis industry is in the neighborhood of around $15 billion," Lee said.While there is disagreement over the real size of the marijuana market it's big enough to have captured the attention of lawmakers trying to fill a huge hole in the state budget.Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is pushing legislation to legalize pot so the state can inhale new taxes."I thought it was high time, no pun intended, for this to be on the table," Ammiano said. "I'm trying to beat everybody to the punch with the jokes, because I get a lot of 'em," he laughed.There are many who ridicule the idea, but the state tax board estimates Ammiano's proposed tax of $50 an ounce could bring in $1.5 to 2 billion a year."We find that highly unlikely," said Rosalie Pacula, of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center. She says California is likely to be disappointed by the revenue raised on marijuana that now sells for about $150 an ounce."If you try to impose a tax that is that high, you have absolutely no incentive for the black market to disappear," she said. "There is complete profit motive for them to actually stay."The tax proposal, though, has started an unusual political discussion. According to one poll, 56 percent of California voters say marijuana should be legalized and taxed. Even California's Republican governor has not snuffed out talk of legalization."No, I think it's not time for that, but I think it's time for debate," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said. "All of those ideas for creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it."Of course, Governor Schwarzenegger, from his earlier life, does have some experience . . .. . . as does the president himself."I inhaled, frequently," Mr. Obama admitted on the campaign trail, in a nod to President Bill Clinton's earlier quasi-admission. "That was the point."And while the president says he is opposed to legalizing pot ("No, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy"), his administration has ordered the DEA to stop raiding state-approved medical marijuana dispensaries.It's a big change from decades of viewing the plant as the indisputable evil portrayed in the 1936 film "Reefer Madness."But that old image has been going up in smoke for decades.It was along for the trip in 1969 in the movie "Easy Rider," and on the cover of Life Magazine. On TV today it's just a part of suburban life in the series "Weeds."And then there's the growing recognition of marijuana as medicine."Marijuana has been a medicine for 5,000 years," said Dr. Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital. "It's only for the last 70 years that it hasn't been a medicine in this country."Dr. Abrams has been studying marijuana for twelve years and is convinced it is both effective and safe."I think marijuana is a very good medicine," he said. "I'm a cancer doctor. I take care every day of patients who have loss of appetite, nausea, pain, difficulty sleeping and depression. I have one medicine that can treat all of those symptoms, instead of five different medicines to which they may become addicted."And that one is marijuana, and they're not gonna become addicted to it?" Blackstone said."That's correct," said Dr. Abrams.But those who have been fighting the war on drugs say that, just because marijuana may be medicine, that doesn't mean it should be legal."There's just no doubt about it that the drug cartels and the drug organizations are very much involved in the production and sale of marijuana, said Roy Wasden, police chief in Modesto, Calif., where a lot of marijuana is grown."You can be out walking through the national forest, and if you hike into one of these marijuana grows, you'll be at great risk," he said.And drug fighters warn aging boomers that marijuana isn't the gentle weed they remember. Today's pot is a whole different kettle of fish"The marijuana of the 1960s and Woodstock is not what's being sold on the streets in the United States today, said Chief Bernard Melekian, head of the California Police Chiefs Association. "The narcotic portion, the THC of marijuana in the '60s, hovered around one or two percent. THC today is around 27 to 30 percent."You have a very significantly different plant."Teaching people to grow that plant is another one of Richard Lee's businesses.Lee runs Oaksterdam University, where students also learn how to stay within the state's medical marijuana laws."So you can't plant those seeds until you know what the law is?" Blackstone asked."Right," said Lee. "Vote today and get high tonight."Students like Darnell Blackman and Barbara Kramer see an opportunity to do good . . . and to do well . . . by growing marijuana."Just like aspirin or ibuprofen or any of those other medications, cannabis is just another way of helping people," said Blackman."I thought maybe there was some way that I could get in the ground floor, get ahead of the curve on where this industry might be going," said Kramer.There are still plenty of obstacles before it's a legal industry. Chief Wasden says this is no time for a surrender in the war on drugs."Fewer kids are using drugs today," he said. "We're not losing the war on drugs. Kids are starting to understand the negative, negative consequences of drug abuse. Do we need to introduce another dependency-driven substance into our community when in fact we're making progress?"But in the community now known as Oaksterdam, the drug warriors are nowhere to be seen . . . as a whole neighborhood goes to pot.Source: CBS News (US Web)Author: John Blackstone Published: July 12, 2009Copyright: 2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc.Website: -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #44 posted by duzt on July 15, 2009 at 14:10:32 PT
Hops are very legal and still sell at $20-30 a pound. The market for cannabis, especially good quality cannabis, which the large majority have never even experienced, would be much greater than the market for hops. I agree with Paint with Light, there will be a market for all quality levels, I just have always had a hard time understanding how people smoke less than excellent quality or drink Budweiser (for god's sake, try a Great White or Mothership Wit), I will just always cater to the more experienced crowd who not only appreciates the best, but demands it. Most definitely the large majority of cannabis would be cheap if legalized (though I doubt less than $200 a pound), but there will always be a good market for the best of the best at any price, that's more the market I am worried about.
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Comment #43 posted by Paint with light on July 14, 2009 at 21:50:41 PT
My guess 
I think there will be real expensive and rare strains, both for medical and recreational purposes.I think there will be greater quantities, at a lessor price than now, of mid-grade and mid-grade premium.I think there will be a lot of even lower priced, but still good, basic grade.All of it will be legal and taxed like alcohol.
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Comment #42 posted by charmed quark on July 14, 2009 at 18:10:44 PT
Of cource, pot is not corn
Corn is so cheap because of the huge volume we grow. Tens of thousands of sections. So it's worth building specialized equipment to automate the planting, cultivation and harvesting of corn. As well as to develop specialized genetics, much more sophisticated than the most overbreed cannabis, for high yields.In some ways, even high-quality pot is easier to grow than corn. No chemicals, irrigation, etc. is needed.
But since we would need only a couple of sections of pot, we wouldn't have all the automation - instead a lot of hand work like with tomatoes. Although, since pot would be transported cured and dried and not fresh, that reduces the cost over fresh vegetables.So I guess it would run about like any dried herb. Maybe $2-3 a pound wholesale. Unless we restrict the acreage like we do with tobacco. Tobacco is another easy grow weed - not as easy or rugged as cannabis, but still a weed. But because of land restrictions and taxes, we drive the consumer price up to $25+ per pound for the finished, cured product.So maybe the same price as Prince Albert in a Can!
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Comment #41 posted by duzt on July 14, 2009 at 17:52:10 PT
still not considering strains
You aren't talking about a product that is all the same. I have been growing for over 15 years and have grown about every commercially available strains and many of the clone only strains. Once it is legal people will hold on to their unique strains. I can buy a pound right now from Mexico for $500. If I am lucky, I can find some RKS or perhaps NL5xHaze and I would pay at least $500 and ounce. I would pay the $500 an ounce every time and never buy the pound at $500. Every strain is very different and once you hold something unique, unless it is stolen, nobody can produce that same exact pheno of whatever variety. I'm sure you will be able to find cheap, poor quality strains (just like now) but for the best of the best, you will always pay a premium. Buy a bottle of Sam Adams Utopia (1 bottle of beer) and you will pay $120-$150, and I have purchased 3 because it is amazing and unique beer. I won't drink a Coors or Bud or any American Lager style beer no matter how cheap because I prefer quality. Same goes with wine. People with cash will always pay the price for the best quality and most unique strains.
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Comment #40 posted by FoM on July 14, 2009 at 13:00:24 PT
charmed quark 
Thank you. That is interesting to know.
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Comment #39 posted by charmed quark on July 14, 2009 at 12:40:56 PT
Market price
I was just working out how much cannabis a section of land (640 acres) could grow - it works out to be at least 1 BILLION grams based on the lower end of yields for outdoor plants. So one section of land would go a long way to providing most of America's pot needs.The same acreage would yield about 73,000 bushels of corn. Even with the higher corn prices we are getting because of the alcohol fuel market, it's still under $5 per bushel. So a section of land in corn earns less than $365K ( the farmer doesn't make that, trust me, that's just what the corn sells for).So if the section of pot earned the same amount, that would be 27 grams of cannabis, about an ounce, for a penny!
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Comment #38 posted by FoM on July 14, 2009 at 07:01:09 PT

We were in the video business (video rental stores) years ago when we saw an opening to get in near the bottom. We paid sometimes $70 for a movie. Even though the purchase price was high we did fine financially. Soon other people jumped on the bandwagon and then they started pricing movies for sometimes $20 so people would buy them rather then rent them. That is how I look at how it will be when cannabis is finally legal. Industries evolve as they expand and prices drop and then the consumers benefit. That's business.
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Comment #37 posted by christ on July 14, 2009 at 06:03:13 PT

does THMQ affect sales prices?
Again, I agree that legalization would bring prices down. 
But not purely because of an increased supply. If there were suddenly 10x as many retailers (dealers) today, they would still set their price to compensate for their black-market risk. Citizens (buyers) might only know of one seller though. So they will pay whatever price the seller quotes.After legalization, the buyer can shop prices. That will bring competition, lower prices, and reduce dealers. For now, I think THMQ is the closest thing to price shopping. I wonder what effect, if any, it has on prices. (O/T - if govt forces were actually interested in reducing the number of dealers, wouldn't visible competition be a permanent and far faster way than prohibition? I guess certain sectors of govt are still winning the argument over other sectors that high black-market pricing is more valuable to govt than TAX REVENUE.)
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Comment #36 posted by christ on July 14, 2009 at 05:21:34 PT

Wow. I am astonished.
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Comment #35 posted by rchandar on July 13, 2009 at 19:36:52 PT:

9 hours, direct flight. Your flight leaves at about 6pm, no later than 9:30. If you arrive early (it could be as early as 6am), it might be hard to find a shop (two are open at 7, Barney's and Central), then at 8 (Picasso, Little, Mellow Yellow).So, you get there. If you get there before 9, you will encounter no customs officers. After 9? There's a very small chance that they will even look at you. Then you come out of the airport shed, and have your first cigarette in 10 hours. You'll see a line of taxis, businesspeople and backpackers walking around, a giant Dutch flag, and a widescreen TV showing the lamest MTV videos possible......the freest country in the world. And still, one of my favorites.--rchandar
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Comment #34 posted by rchandar on July 13, 2009 at 19:30:48 PT:

my GOD, WHERE WERE YOU?that was 1996. The Dutch government had just instituted its licensing system--after shutting down about 200 shops, or so the story goes......yes, Europe was very cheap. Smoke was, could go into any shop and get 2.2 for 25fl=$11. The world was different then--they had a lot of "purple skunk" which you might find in the mid-West today--"Holland" postcards used to include shots of huge fields of purple bud. Hotels? You could stay at a decent family hotel (my favorite, the Veteran) for 60 fl ($24). Airfare? Your round-trip ticket would be about $350--direct flight, no changeover......if any of you read stuff about how the Dutch are going to close the coffeeshops, just don't believe them. Why? That same talk was going around in '96. The pressure was from the same people--France. In '97, the UN "investigated" the Amsterdam scene, inspiring their '98 master document to "eradicate all drugs worldwide by 2008." Legally, a lot of things were more liberal then--growing plants was officially legal "for the purpose of making seeds"--today, if it doesn't come out of the ground, it's illegal. Has the city changed?
No. It's the same great city, full of life and pleasure and diversity. There are always lots of Americans there, but then people from all over the world are there.And the Euro--and the EU--are both very bad, bad ideas. The EU itself is not sympathetic to "democracy"--it's a conglomerating institution that usually tramples on local rights. They do have more freedom to work and go to school, but I can't see any other imaginable way that it has "worked" for anyone. Taking away local discretion in the making of culture, values, lifestyles, and perspective is a very, very un-European thing--the most valuable thing about Europe was her diversity, the many histories and the adventure.European drug laws haven't improved much, despite how they're sensationalized. There's a move to start an Amsterdam-style cafe system in Denmark, but it may or may not happen. Berlin legalized possession of 15 grams, still dealing is illegal. Italy goes back and forth over a possession law which allows you to have 1 gram. Spain is legal for growing, but everything else is illegal. The UK "downgraded" MJ, then "upgraded" it again when Tony Blair left office. Belgium and Luxembourg allow you to have 3 grams or "1 plant", but they still complain about "drug tourism" to Holland. Still, the notion that Holland will close its shops isn't going to realize itself, if only because it's a $3 billion a year cash cow and an image booster for an otherwise small and tradition-saddled central European country. They would be just like England, France, and Germany--which, naturally, is an idea they hate.--rchandar
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Comment #33 posted by FoM on July 13, 2009 at 17:58:18 PT

Pictures From Woodstock 1969
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on July 13, 2009 at 17:55:22 PT

I Agree
I agree with Dankhank about the music. I was just reading this article and I thought others might like to check it out. Soon it will be 40 years since Woodstock happened. Going Down To Yasgur's Farm
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Comment #31 posted by Dankhank on July 13, 2009 at 16:31:16 PT

I've seen the Allman bros. many times, all but one, while original lineup was still around. I saw Gov't Mule in OKC a few years ago. Yes, they are amazing.don't be shy about sharing musical tastes ... we all can learn from each other ...Peace to all who share ...
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Comment #30 posted by Hope on July 13, 2009 at 15:21:22 PT

Comment 19 Christ
Several years ago I remember an article by a farmer in California. He grew produce on a large farm. Broccoli in particular, as I remember. He was appalled about how much people were being charged for the plant. As I recall he said he could still make an outstanding profit at selling an entire mature plants, or growing a plant for one person, for basically ten dollars... for each plant.
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Comment #29 posted by Hope on July 13, 2009 at 15:15:31 PT

JHarshaw comment 22
You are likely right about that.
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Comment #28 posted by rchandar on July 13, 2009 at 12:36:03 PT:

Just Because You Believe in Something...
...does not give you the unrestrained right to walk around and crush other's beliefs, simply because they don't fit yours.--rchandar
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Comment #27 posted by rchandar on July 13, 2009 at 12:34:56 PT:

Is a completely over-justified, wholly false new mythology. Nothing in the "potency" argument justifies keeping MJ a criminal offense.The notion that we're going to get somewhere by branding MJ a "new" dangerous drug is a fantasy, that's all. Lots of the drug prisoners in our jails today, for example, have mental health problems--perhaps they used drugs. Are we getting any sense that they're being treated, that their "health" is "improving" because of our sanguinary and sane laws to punish them severely? I doubt it.The very notion that I'm going to punish you because you can't handle being alive is insensitive, cruel, and disgusting. Virtually every one of those people--counselors, DAs and politicians, and cops--should think twice before they "boldly go where no man has gone before."--rchandar
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Comment #26 posted by rchandar on July 13, 2009 at 09:14:27 PT:

and we can't do that......simply because very few people grow outdoor anymore, without fertilizers or chemicals. that's an intangible which would require a really good legalization plan. Should we legalize MJ and tax it, we would have to have a legal method of cultivation--nuff said, a number of plants that would be allowed under the law (let's for argument's sake be good about it and say, 1,000 plants would earn no criminal sanctions or fines). Illegal drug barons would then be given the choice of growing for the tax- and regulate system, or being thrown out of business. (This choice factor is important: where have we been getting the stuff, all these years?) But even then, legalize or not, I know that the hydroponic grow rooms have changed pot science forever. Not so Mexico, where it would simply cost the barons way too much money to even try to compete with the grow rooms here--electricity, supervision, fertilizers, clandestine locations).All told, I'd love to see Second or Third World countries--Mexico, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Lebanon, Ghana--try and match the revolution in plant genetics. It's unlikely, at least for the time being. Paying for the electricity and labor itself would probably quintuple the street price, making smuggling far less profitable. It's also not a good idea simply because the outdoor grows, when they are found and destroyed, can be duplicated somewhere else--there's no collective motion from the UN and Interpol to wipe out all of these pot farms at the same time. One country (Morocco) goes under, another (Afghanistan) picks up speed. One part of India (Manali) plans to eradicate illegal plantations, another part (Kerala), far away from the media spotlight and considerably less popular with tourists, picks up production. Outdoor weed can never match today's plant potency--it's 7-8%, under the best grow conditions. It's hardly, however, a thing of the past. Go out there, try it, it's good...--rchandar
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Comment #25 posted by christ on July 13, 2009 at 05:27:59 PT

Govt Mule & Neil Young
wikipedia names Neil Young first in a list of influences on Govt Mule.
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Comment #24 posted by RevRayGreen on July 13, 2009 at 04:57:40 PT

Of late...
Warren has been sitting in with 'The Dead' in Jerry's(RIP) role also.
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Comment #23 posted by Canis420 on July 13, 2009 at 03:17:30 PT:

Comment 21...Govt mule rocks
steady. Ive seen em twice. Warren Haines is a powerhouse. Joe Bonamasso is comin to Florida. Not the usual neil young/dylan vibe u usually see posted on here but Joe should be checked out . Go PUFMM
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Comment #22 posted by JHarshaw on July 13, 2009 at 02:13:49 PT

Price and Taxes
I don't really think that the price of legalised Cannabis will matter to the taxman since they are talking about a set amount per ounce rather than a percentage of the price.  They will get their $50.00 per ounce, (or whatever amount they settle on,) no matter the market price.
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Comment #21 posted by RevRayGreen on July 12, 2009 at 21:40:00 PT

I was thrown out 45 minutes into GOV'T MULE
for choice of eye-wear and a t-shirt that read BONG HITS 4 IOWA and BONG HITS 4 JESUS on back..45 minutes into the show, everyone was lighting up. 10 minutes before they grabbed me, another due close to us was getting hauled away. We thought it was for something besides enjoying a substance SAFER than beer. Next thing I was grabbed on both sides and escorted to the exit. Saving grace you can still see/hear the show from a bridge that hangs over the amphitheater downtown DSM.
Me and Warren Friday night 
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Comment #20 posted by RevRayGreen on July 12, 2009 at 21:30:26 PT

All this discussion of price remember this
In Mexico, that same pound they sell in Arizona for $400 in Tucson goes for $50/lb. or less in Mexico. Depending on quantity/quality. Since it is grown by the mega-ton in Mexico, in the mountains, the surplus is crazy. If we could produce what Mexico produces, the commercial price would plummet.In other new it is on to Round 3 w/the Iowa Board of Pharmacy 7/21/09........Pharmacy Board of Iowa to consider medical marijuana
DSM Register blog on the IA board of pharmacy
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Comment #19 posted by christ on July 12, 2009 at 20:18:57 PT

pricing and cost question
I agree with some of the posts that pricing should drop a bit after legalization. There's got to be some premium paid throughout the entire supply chain (between growers and consumers) to compensate for black market risk. I'm curious about the cost of growing one plant... but excluding equipment that could be used on a future grow. So excluding lamps, fans, pumps, etc. Just electricity, co2, water, nutrients, people hours, etc. I'm sure it varies based on indoor/outdoor, vegetative/flowering cycles, labor rate, etc, but has anyone seen any resources or heard any estimated ranges? The reason I ask is that I think this would also factor into the legal market pricing equation.
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Comment #18 posted by duzt on July 12, 2009 at 18:42:10 PT

Don't forget that pesky exchange rate. Our dollar doesn't seem to be worth much anymore so it is more expensive when you figure in the euro. It was much cheaper to get around the dam when it was guilders(sp?). Still, an amazing city with so much to offer, so much history, great museums and don't miss Haarlem, it has far better quality in the coffeeshops and is a fun town to visit as well. 
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Comment #17 posted by MikeC on July 12, 2009 at 18:39:56 PT

I can imagine. Also, what is it about 13-14 hours on a plane? That's a bit much!Regardless, that is my dream vacation. 
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Comment #16 posted by rchandar on July 12, 2009 at 18:02:13 PT:

the only thing that hits the s #t out of the wallet when you go to Europe is the plane ticket. 
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Comment #15 posted by MikeC on July 12, 2009 at 17:06:43 PT

No, I hope that Amsterdam flourishes for a long, long time. I have never been there but dream about it every day!My point was simply that prices were high because people are willing to pay.
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Comment #14 posted by HempWorld on July 12, 2009 at 16:05:58 PT

That was educative and entertaining rchandar, and very truthful too. Lol.Cannabis can be much cheaper when legally produced, by how much? This is a market process over time, leaps and bounds, as with any commodity market ...
Legalize It!
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Comment #13 posted by rchandar on July 12, 2009 at 15:56:09 PT:

Whadda you mean, quit going to A'dam? It's a GREAT city, teeming with life and culture and fun. I hope they always have their "gedoogbeleid." Dutch people are friendly--at least, they are friendlier than Europeans in the other countries. They're more modern, they think like modern people. Which is refreshing. Anyways, I don't think what you're saying is going to happen simply because lots of smokers don't get good s #t where they come from--for many regions of the US and Latin America, schwag is most of what's there. No one's under any pressure to buy in A'dam--they will show you what they have, and usually they've no problem with you trying to figure out what you want. The prices have gone up some, but many shops still will sell you 4g for about $35-40. American/Canadian weed has caught up with the science, but go if you can! Holland's a good place and most people who don't have an oppressive attitude or overly high expectations of others will enjoy it. It's also pretty safe--you can walk around for hours at night and no worries. That, since the cops are more worried about pickpockets and murderers than tokers. You can skin up on the street, so long as you're not being too obvious. Plus, most Dutch people speak English, which is refreshing. You won't have much trouble finding out what is where, who to talk to, where to go. It's a modern country, everyone should go.--rchandar
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Comment #12 posted by rchandar on July 12, 2009 at 15:47:48 PT:

Re: $150 an ounce.Remember the button GNR guitarist Slash would wear? "Sounds like bulls #t to me." People, no-body sells chronic at that price. Short of being a smuggler from Canada, or a very, very lucky middleman who knows the right people in the worst neighborhoods possible, Cali bud is going to go at $400/oz, at least. Go into cities like LA, SF, SJ: $500-$600/oz. Wanta make a buck while you're in Compton? $800-900/oz.It was NEVER, EVER cheap, even when I was a kid. --rchandar
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Comment #11 posted by duzt on July 12, 2009 at 15:45:27 PT

wine is cheap?
I bought a bottle of wine last week that was over $500. I could buy a box at the store for $5 but I prefer quality. The fact is, anybody with a unique strain can simply not ever release that strain and if the quality is good enough, people will always pay the price. There are so many different strains out there some will always be totally unique, and never released to the market. I would pay $400 an ounce for the real deal road kill skunk or blueberry muffin tasting Oregon blueberry (more if I had to) because very few people still carry those genetics. Sure there will be cheap cannabis available, but the rarest and properly grown strains will always sell high.
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Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on July 12, 2009 at 15:11:56 PT:

Sam, I beg to differ
Just as the market will dictate price, it will also dictate the amount of effort provided on the part of growers to meet that price.Granted, energy costs do figure greatly, and I expect those costs to increase as energy itself becomes more expensive, but given the dynamics of a legal market, I also fully expect mass-production of indoor high-THC 'hydro' bud to take off like a shot as soon as it's legal once more. If only because a larger combine could out-produce a smaller one and fairly easily absorb those energy costs.But I would doubt seriously that the price would remain as high as that. It would have to be something extraordinary to command that much. And as to the often-voiced concerns that it won't be legalized because the tax man can't get his share due to cannabis being a weed and can be grown almost anywhere, well, the same argument was fronted by the "Drys' about re-legalizing alcohol during Prohibition, and the argument was just as specious then as it is now. If only because there are sales taxes on the components of home brewing equipment...and there are very few people who make their own home brew, wine or spirits. Why bother, when they can go down to the corner liquor store and get what they want? The same dynamic of sheer human laziness (combined with the fact that most people are city-dwellers now, and don't have any land to plant anything on, and have very little free space in their homes and apartments for indoor grows) will trump the concerns of the prohibs.In any event, to expect the price of weed after re-legalization to remain as high as it has for decades may prove to be unrealistic, and any tax plan involved will have to take that into account.
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Comment #9 posted by Sam Adams on July 12, 2009 at 14:33:01 PT

the future
Full repeal of prohibition will bring lower prices, there will be some great outdoor herb for low prices, but 100% organic indoor-grown cannabis will still cost a lot, probably not $400/ounce though. The dried flowers still have to be trimmed the way people like, the HPS lights and electricity aren't getting any cheaper. Outdoor is great but can never match the high potency and high calyx-to-leaf ratio of indoor. Also poor weather can doom an outdoor crop to mold and total failure in bad years, this is even more true for 100% organic herb.We are still light-years from full legalization, that will mean just as many outlets as there are for alcohol right now. Nowhere in the world is even close, not even LA with its 900 dispensaries.
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Comment #8 posted by MikeC on July 12, 2009 at 14:07:17 PT

The prices are high in Amsterdam because they know tourists are going to pay for it. If people quit coming prices would drop.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on July 12, 2009 at 12:47:58 PT

My Opinion
I honestly believe the prices will drop after legalization. Supply and demand always dictates prices. There will be plenty of quality cannabis popping up in practically every state in the nation. When cannabis can be grown outside it will produce large yields. It could become very inexpensive like general herbs are now.
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on July 12, 2009 at 12:09:20 PT:

Re-legalization will cause price deflation
Right now, simply because of Uncle Sam's international intransigence when it comes to cannabis, the price has remained artificially high everywhere in the Developed World. Which is why it remains high in Amsterdam despite its' legal stature (it is NOT legal there, only tolerated).When it is finally re-legalized, the long-suppressed normal market forces (not the artificial ones created by prohibition) will cause massive price deflation.Any taxation schema based upon the present price inflation (provided by the government's 'price fixing' thanks to illegality) is unrealistic; consumers will pay the same they've been paying for a few weeks after re-legalization, but eventually market forces will take over and then they will refuse to pay those artificially high prices, and will initiate a price war among legal dealers. The 'goods' will have to be on the order of Dom Perignon champagne to command a high price...and an equally high tax. Still, it would be vastly preferable to what we have today, with prohibition. At least, government wouldn't be killing you in attempting to 'save' you from something that hasn't caused a single fatality in 5K years of recorded history...
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Comment #5 posted by duzt on July 12, 2009 at 10:35:41 PT

150 an ounce?
When they want it to look bad it is 400, if they are talking about taxes they say it is only 150 and ounce, interesting. They lowest price you will pay for best quality is around 300/oz if you are buying at least an ounce. If you go to Amsterdam, you are going to pay more even being legal (so many people think making it legal will make it worth nothing, go to Amsterdam and pay 20 euro a gram for the best and you will change your mind, just like good wine, people will always pay the price). The other oddity is that most of the dispensary owners would be happy to pay more taxes, but they aren't allowed. Our economy isn't getting better any time soon, these gov't officials have no new ideas (and haven't for years) and the only thing they can do is find ways to not fix the problems. The people in this country from the 40's and 50's won't be around, or in charge much longer, then hopefully some things can start to change more quickly.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on July 12, 2009 at 09:15:50 PT

Thank you but I couldn't understand what they were saying.
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Comment #3 posted by HempWorld on July 12, 2009 at 09:09:41 PT

Obama Blakk Rasta ... 
Music video ...
Obama Blakk Rasta ... Jah Mon!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 12, 2009 at 07:49:45 PT

Thank you. I missed it. 
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Comment #1 posted by ripit on July 12, 2009 at 07:29:24 PT

i just watched this.
too bad chief wasdumb was in there with bs like the extremely dangerous and highly addictive line. but other than that i enjoyed most of this story..i think it came off in a very positive veiw on our cause!
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