Legal Pot: The Good and Bad

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  Legal Pot: The Good and Bad

Posted by CN Staff on April 25, 2010 at 13:01:22 PT
By Glenda Anderson, The Press Democrat 
Source: Press Democrat 

California -- Marijuana enthusiasts from across the country flocked to Ukiah Saturday to talk about the future of pot should California voters in November legalize its use for all adults. “I think this is huge. Everybody is watching,” said Lacey Story, an oriental medicine practitioner and herbalist from Nederland, Colo.More than 200 people attended a day-long forum to address concerns that legalization could lead to a collapse of the North Coast's lucrative underground pot industry.
A smattering of government and business representatives attended, but the greatest number were associated with the marijuana industry.Many attendees asked not to be named because it remains illegal to profit from marijuana production, medical or otherwise.“I have a felony,” explained a tan young man whose long blond hair was twisted into a bun.The November ballot initiative would make it legal for anyone over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow it for personal use. Commercial operations would require government approval. The measure also would authorize local governments to regulate and tax pot, which remains a primarily underground economy despite being legal for medicinal use.Some marijuana growers fear legalization will draw corporate tobacco companies into the business, flooding the market and causing pot prices to plummet.“The golden goose will be dead,” said Anna Hamilton, a musician and Humboldt County public radio show host who organized the first marijuana economy forum in Humboldt County last month and helped with Mendocino County's meeting.Tens of thousands of people who rely on marijuana cultivation to make ends meet could wind up financially destitute, she said.Others, however, said they don't think the market will drop significantly unless marijuana is legalized worldwide.California already is a marijuana export state, law officials note.Many growers see legalization as an opportunity to brand and promote their products. The North Coast already is reknowned for its pot.Marijuana advocates and county officials alike see Wine Country-style tasting rooms and pot-garden tours in MendocinoCounty's future.“I want to see tasting rooms. This really could be a model for anti-capitalism, small business,” said Ellen Komp, of the newly formed Emerald Triangle division of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.Marijuana already is a huge part of the local economy, with value estimates ranging from $1.2 billion to $4.4 billion.“The whole county is lubricated, baby,” said Les Tarr, a radio show host at a small local radio station, KMEC.A California Board of Equalization analysis estimates that legalizing and taxing pot in California could yield $1.4 billion in revenue for the state if a $50-per-ounce levy were to be placed on retail sales in addition to sales tax. Sales taxes alone could yield $392 million, according to the report.The Board of Equalization analysis estimates that marijuana prices could drop by 50 percent, while consumption could increase by 40 percent.Prices already have dropped because the market has been flooded by medicinal marijuana growers.“The market is glutted. I can't sell anything,” Mendocino coast medical marijuana advocate Pebbles Trippet said during an interview last week.But that's a good thing for medical marijuana patients who often must pay high prices for their medicine, she said.Medical pot in dispensaries sells for about $60 for an eighth of an ounce, which equates to more than $7,000 a pound, Hamilton said.Growers currently are getting from $1,800 to $2,000 a pound, down for a high of about $4,000 several years ago, she said. Many called for the creation of a regional stakeholder group to help negotiate prices with cannabis clubs and to lobby legislators.Most growers attending Saturday's meeting at an old but airy meeting hall downtown indicated they are willing to risk a price decline in favor of legalization.“Do you really think we should keep putting people in prison to protect the price of marijuana?” asked Mike Johnson, who runs a Ukiah-area medical marijuana dispensary.“No,” those in the audience resoundingly replied.Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)Author: Glenda Anderson, The Press DemocratPublished: April 24, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Press DemocratContact: letters pressdemo.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #7 posted by Storm Crow on April 26, 2010 at 08:50:46 PT
Ginseng growers wait YEARS to harvest, and manage to make a living with the cheap stuff going for $35 a pound. Blueberry growers get way less than that and survive. Both blueberries and ginseng are fussy plants, they won't grow well unless soils and climate conditions are right! Cannabis is a weed! I grow my own cannabis for under $20 on ounce- indoors, the expensive way. Outdoors, it would be all but free! Sorry, but I just can't seem to get very much pity worked up for some dudes who worry about getting ONLY $1,800 a pound for their easy-to-grow, dried flowers! Bet ANY other type of agriculturist would be absolutely thrilled to get even a hundredth of that per pound for their crops!  
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Comment #5 posted by Cheebs1 on April 26, 2010 at 06:47:31 PT:

A quick comment on the article in post #2. Not only do these people want to take away freedom from people, fine them, confiscate all of your worldly posessions, take away your children, and take away any chance of federal aid, i.e. financial aid for school, housing, medical coverage, now to add insult to injury they want even more blood money by taxing a substance that is illegal. Can anyone else understand how this might work? I would think losing everything you have in this world, including your freedom, would be ample tax enough..... apparently not.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 26, 2010 at 04:28:21 PT

I believe you are correct. 
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Comment #3 posted by EAH on April 25, 2010 at 22:36:10 PT:

The most powerful interest is personal interest. How someone calculates that is very complicated. Cannabis growers need to recognize and accept that the monetary value of the weed they intensively cultivate is grossly inflated due to prohibition. Sorry, but just cause you were attracted to it and were willing to take the risk during prohibition does NOT entitle you to continue to expect that 
grotesquely inflated valuation to continue with legality. A legal cannabis world would be totally different from a prohibition one. It's prolific, it's just another agricultural product. The economics of legal agricultural mean that total gourmet cannabis could be grown, processed, distributed and sold for a fraction of the prohibition price. Anybody who is hoping to transition the black market valuations to legality needs to take a medication holiday. Even if a boutique hand crafted market emerges it will
be very competitive and operate at price points that the current model 
can't exist with. Anybody in CA that already produces ag products legally,
like those that produce dried flowers and herbs, will be able to easily out compete black market growers. They already have the infrastructure in place and the cheap labor to move right into cannabis production. This by the way is a good thing. $300 and $400 per oz cannabis is not defendable as legitimately necessary in a normal non prohibition world.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 25, 2010 at 17:52:30 PT

Marijuana Tax: Pot of Gold for Cities and Towns?
By Jacqueline RabeApril 26, 2010Connecticut -- Marijuana may turn a new shade of green if Sen. Robert J. Kane has his way: He sees the illegal substance as a potential pot of tax money for Connecticut's municipalities."This is easy money," said Kane, R-Watertown, who wants to allow towns to collect a tax on marijuana and other controlled substances seized by police officers.Kane is touting the proposal as a revenue-generator for cash-strapped towns, and at least one municipal organization is ready to sign on. But that's why Rep. Cameron C. Staples, D-New Haven and co-chairman of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said he plans to let the bill die.Complete Article:
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on April 25, 2010 at 16:12:42 PT

The real question is…
Should people be put in jail because of cannabis? The resounding answer is NO.Isn’t that what the legalization issue is all about?

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