The new Baptists and bootleggers?

by on July 29, 2013 at 11:38 am in Law, Medicine, Uncategorized | Permalink

Activists fighting to legalize marijuana in states across the country are running into an unlikely opponent: people who make a living in the medical marijuana industry. Politico calls it “Big Marijuana,” noting that those who form part of the billion-dollar industry are fighting hard to keep competitors out of the game. In its fight against full legalization, the medical marijuana sector has joined some unusual allies. The Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, for example, joined law-enforcement groups and social conservatives to fight against a bill that would have legalized possession of small quantities, reports Politico.

Medical marijuana is good business not just for dispensaries but also the doctors who agree to prescribe the drug. Finding a doctor willing to recommend the drug “can take months,” reports Market Watch. In Massachusetts, for example, some 3,000 people are on the waiting list to see a doctor.

The link is here.

RPLong July 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

You mean that a market that was previously controlled by organized crime, once legalized, becomes a market controlled by rent-seeking oligopolists? Wow, I did not see that coming…

See also: Everyone who ever said, “I think marijuana should be legalized so that the government can tax it and regulate it.”

Marie July 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm

See next some large corporation regularizing the production, enhancing the THC properties, and undercutting locals on cost. Then getting the FCC go ahead for TV ads.

RPShort July 29, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Wait, what is the organized drug trade if not a rent-seeking oligopoly?

As one of the everyone that said: “I think marijuana should be legalized so that the government can tax it and regulate it,” I’m not sure how you’ve weakened my point…

Frederic Mari July 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm

What RPShort is saying.

The fact that some industrialists are trying to defend their turf is a bit sad when the turf in question is something still struggling to be socially accepted but it’s not exactly surprising or entirely unexpected.

However, how does that change ‘legalise and tax’?

RPLong July 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Sorry, it seems I phrased my point badly. I did not intend my comment to convey an anti-legalization sentiment. More like: “legalization” is no good substitute for legalization.

Martin Keegan July 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Shurely “Big Weed” rather than “Big Marijuana”?

Marie July 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

We had a medical pot store start to move in down the hill, only one around while in other areas there were tons of storefronts. One day, before opening, the sign was gone. I don’t think it was the pressure of the fine upstanding citizenry that closed it out, I’m pretty sure there was already a strong supply system in place that wasn’t fond of competition and was able to exert strong strong negative pressure on the entrepreneurs.

Cliff July 29, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Speculation!

Marie July 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Yup.
Based on a couple observations and probably too much Sopranos viewing, but I’m not curious enough about whether I’m accurate to go around asking questions!

Brian Donohue July 29, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I think the marijuana market should be left alone as a living testament to Hayekian self-organization.

Just like how the Post Office should be preserved as an example of full-fledged socialism.

George Doehner July 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Potheads attacking potheads. This is why we can never have anything nice.

Sam July 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Doctors are the worst kinds of parasites. It is insulting that we need the permission of service providers whom we pay money in order to purchase substances from other firms to put into our own bodies!

Disgusting.

Mama Mia July 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Your body ceases to be your body when other taxpayers are potentially on the hook for paying for your rehab and ER costs.

Libertarians never seem to get that, for better or worse, we live in an ethical society (aka civilization) that is very easy to exploit.

Turkey Vulture July 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Because we’re an ethical society that cannot help itself from paying for your mistakes, we must instead attempt to prevent you from making those mistakes by making them illegal. When you’re caged in a small cell learning your lesson about the evils of vice, remember how ethical we are.

Frederic Mari July 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm

As with nearly everything, it’s a question of degree. How to balance individual freedoms, social responsibility and socialised safety nets.

My bet is that there are several acceptable answers possible to this unsolvable conundrum.

Turkey Vulture July 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm

At the least, I think if society decides it needs to offer these safety nets, and also decides it needs to limit the possible cost of these safety nets by proscribing certain dangerous behavior, I believe there needs to be an “opt-out” option.

Of course, the coverage opted-out-of needs to be properly circumscribed: I shouldn’t have to opt-out of police protection because I want to smoke pot. Really, I shouldn’t even have to opt-out of all health coverage, assuming we had fully socialized medicine. But if, say, smoking pot quadrupled my chances of lung cancer, then perhaps require that I opt-out of being covered by socialized insurance for that – though I should still be able to buy (appropriately expensive) private insurance.

My uneasiness with government-covered health care (aside from concerns about inefficiency) have long been based on the fear that the logic of what Mama Mia said will lead to the regulation and prohibition of ever-more potentially-harmful behaviors. If society might be stuck footing the bill, why can’t it mandate exercise, healthy diets, and the like? Why can’t it carefully regulate sexual behaviors to make them minimally-risky?

Sam July 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm

There’s no such thing as an “ethical” society.

“Your body ceases to be your body when other [people have an interest in it]” is exactly a translation of might makes right, which is of course the exact opposite of civilization.

But I find that I can accept it. Just don’t expect me to omit using physical violence and theft for my own advantage whenever I can. Or to give you social status for free after you attacked me so openly.

Peter Schaeffer July 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

MM,

+1

See also

Survey: One in 7 of state’s nighttime drivers under the influence of drugs
http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_22106197/survey-one-7-states-nighttime-drivers-under-influence

Bender Bending Rodriguez July 29, 2013 at 9:51 pm

So what you’re saying is that it’s perfectly acceptable to require welfare recipients to be sterilized, right? Or, perhaps although it might be your womb, society has an interest in potentially forcing you to carry your fetus to term.

FC July 30, 2013 at 1:18 am

No, pharmacists are worse. They talked governments into forbidding physicians to sell the drugs they prescribe.

Michael Giberson July 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Bruce Yandle noticed a similar dynamic in California a few years ago when legalization was on the ballot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfweXrh9UK4

Established marijuana growers were worried that industrial scale farms, usually framed as funded by “Big Tobacco,” would undercut their livelihoods.

mulp July 29, 2013 at 3:59 pm

The Bush administration set out to make examples of what you are calling “Big Marijuana,” the big “corporate” operations who must operate with cash because they can not use banks who are under Federal jackboot control responsible for all money laundering which means any illegal drug money, and without banks, can’t take credit or debit cards. And have problems paying their 5-10 employees, but do have a State government charter.

Nothing has changed since Obama took office except the “making an example” of “Big Marijuana,” “corporations”, as long as they have only big corporate sales well under a million dollars. Remember, this is a cash business.

If the recreational drug market in a State is going to be a $100 million business, that means well over a hundred producers and sellers of recreational pot, but for a billion dollars, it is unlikely to be well over a thousand “Big Marijuana,” “corporate” operations, but will instead be more like a dozen with $10 million in cash business per month, or maybe per week. This will lead to a huge Federal task force, with local support from police departments anxious to get million dollar cash infusions from joining with the DEA and FBI on raids. No matter that the cases get tied up in court for years with even jury nullification 75% of the time, the cash will be gone. And when juries hear of millions of dollars in cash, they will more likely convict because this must be Mexican drug cartel related.

After that, the medical pot producers become targets even though they are small operators.

In a way, this parallels the rush that gay activists pursued when Clinton lost less that the right wing winners Bush plus Perot, with the result being DADT and DOMA.

If Obama/Holder ignore the real big pot corporate push from the legal pot activists, 2017 would likely see the backlash of a Republican administration winning in part on the moral decade of the leftist Obama, and going on a big crusade to put lots of drug dealers in prison.

If Obama/Holder are keeping “Big Marijuana,” in check, the right-wing is going to using that as reasons to impeach Holder and Obama. And the right put up websites calling for Obama’s impeachment as soon as he won, and for Holder as soon as he was nominated, so anything they do is a reason to impeach them, which requires opposing everything they do. Opposition to the NSA and PATRIOT Act is rising on the right because Obama has pursued it fully, (quietly with the Republican backing of members in Congress and in the Courts).

Just remember when Raich et al argued in the Supreme Court they had a right to grow pot for their own use in their own planters because it was not interstate commerce and otherwise outside the power of Congress. Scalia slapped down those California leftists.

If Perry had pushed through recreational pot in Texas to generate tax revenue for schools and reduce the cost of prisons, with Holder taking action against actual corporations and Perry ordering a lawsuit against Obama and Holder, that could get to the Supreme Court where Scalia could write a new decision slapping down Obama saying the Interstate Commerce and Treaty clauses can not restrict the corporate right to profit from selling pot, even if imported from Mexico or Asia.

Ryan July 29, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Covers a lot of ground here. +4 for ground cover. One of his better ones.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: