Old Cops and Pot Cartels

Old Cops and Pot Growers Continue to Unite
to Oppose Prop 19 
Notice: This is analtainment, an analysis with entertainment value.  

As November 2 nears, the battle over the legalization of cannabis is growing more conflicted.

The “Yes on Prop 19” side lists supporters among law professors, civil libertarians, many cops, the CA NAACP, doctors, hopeful entrepreneurs, moms, county boards of supervisors, although of course not the Sierra County Board, and many county Democratic committees, though of course not the Sierra County Dems.  

“No on Prop 19” is supported by wine and beer makers, old and retired cops, most political candidates, lots of Republicans but not all, and pot growers and medical boutique owners.

(Go HERE  to read more about who supports and who opposes.)

It’s no mystery why old and retired cops would be against legalization of cannabis, they’ve held the bulwark on what has essentially been a cultural battle over a very useful plant for over 50 years.  Cannabis prohibition has long been used as a way to control poor and undesirable elements.  First it was Mexican migrant workers, then hippies.  
Though prohibition has driven the price as high as $600.00 an ounce, pot is actually a very friendly plant, will grow almost anywhere and so has been used by the poor and marginalized for a very long time.  It’s not as easy to brew beer or wine as it is to simply throw some seeds in the ground.  Always and everywhere, from India to Jamaica to rural Northern California, cannabis is used by the poor.  For political candidates and cops hoping for retirement, you can hardly go wrong by tromping on those who have no legitimate means to tromp back.

It’s also now being used by the wealthy, and those who are profiting from that wealth aren’t so happy.   Boutique medical cannabis owners are not at all happy about a law that might put them out of business completely.  If Leonards or the Downieville Grocery could sell a modest sized package of cannabis of a known strength and quality, as they do now with alcohol, why would anyone drive 75 miles to buy over-priced pot?  For many growers, things are as good now, under Prop 215, as they can possibly get.  If cannabis is legalized it will be produced by a few large corporations, instead of widely scattered, mostly family run pot grows now.  As the price has come down for medical cannabis the profit motive has been reduced somewhat for large wildcat or “organized crime” grows.  Legalization would dramatically increase competition, and no longer would it be out of work contractors growing in the woods, it would be corporations, growing in the sunshine of the Central Valley.  

Further, medical users might suffer under Prop 19.  Yes, there are many, many people who use cannabis because it is a mild pain reliever but tends to relieve pain other analgesics don’t; because it lightens the mood, important when dealing with chronic illness; because it increases appetite; and because it is more easily administered than other forms of drugs.  It’s difficult to see how medical users will benefit from cannabis being blessed and taxed as a state approved sin.

As a result, many grower and seller groups are urging their members and clients to vote “no” on Prop 19.  Read HERE

For some of those growers and users, it is not legalization, but the bill itself which is the problem.  As I’ve complained before, the bill doesn’t so much legalize cannabis as it does regularize and tax it.  Pot is as free right now as it can ever be in America.  This “legalization” is hardly legalization at all, and will involve what should be considered a mild and useful plant in production and sales as though it were a dangerous drug, like scotch.  Take the time to read a good analysis HERE.

On the other hand, some poor counties support the bill because they’ve directed their staff to determine the effects of the measure, and have come to the realization that the bill is a bone, tossed to the county by the state, to make up for revenue lost in other areas.

Unfortunately, here in Sierra County, there is no voice encouraging the county supes and other local big shots to anticipate the changes in cannabis production and sales, regardless of whether legalization passes this time or not.  Oh, wait, there is, the Sierra County Prospect.  In that case, we guess the Supes must not read, or maybe just not comprehend, the Prospect.  Maybe Sierra County just has too much money, and maybe Loyalton and Allegheny don’t need the income.  Or, maybe they’d simply rather wait until every other county in the state has cannabis income, and then try to compete with the market.  Who knows the thought processes of these worthies, and who knows what kind of divination and forecast capabilities they have.   Aaaaanyway…

Currently, it’s a coin toss if the measure will pass.  Neither cops nor pot growers have much influence over the voters, though the two sides have their favorite polls to brag up.  Most voters, wisely, wonder why such a fuss is being made about pot when the state is in such dire circumstances.  Unfortunately, the pollsters don’t have much access to the voters who will likely decide this issue: those from 18 to 24 who may or may not bother to vote, but usually don’t take part in polls.  If this group shows up at the polls, “legalization” is likely.  

I hate the proposition, it’s badly written because it’s written to calm the fears of the voters, I detest what legalization will do to a substance that should be as easily available to poor people in America as it is to the poor people of India. But I want the bill passed because it will make it a little harder for cops to throw your back seat out on the pavement because they “smelled pot” or freak social workers to take your kid because they think you’re a “marijuana addict”.  A little harder.  Control freaks will continue to be control freaks, though.  

Still, the Prospect Prognosticator is going to predict passage, by a narrow margin.  I predict that the 18-24 year old group will bother to vote, and they’ll support passage because cops don’t like it (a very good reason indeed).  I think middle voters will vote middling, but they have these motivations to support it:

1. It has the shape they like.  It taxes, it regulates, it controls.  In the land of the free, true freedom is scary!  People might do bad things if government isn’t there to regulate and tax.
2. It will bring in a little money to the counties.
3. They’re tired of the discussion.  We don’t have to have a big deal over beer every few years like this, so legalize it already.

Oh, boy, freedom loving people self-governing.  Ain’t it beautiful?

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