Thursday, October 10, 2013

Reefer Madness... AKA The State's Pot Bureaucracy

Watching the state birth an entire bureaucracy for dealing with legalized marijuana has been a little like watching a late-season Mariners game — you know it’s going to be a meaningless comedy of errors. There’s no chance of making the playoffs, because the game is being played primarily with rookies and guys who started the season in the minors, along with a few end-of-their-career veterans.

I recently attended a meeting, where the speaker was Clallam County District Court Judge Rick Porter, discussing the state’s impending (it’s not yet legal) legalization, proposed enforcement, taxation, and marketing of reefer. The judge was a pretty entertaining speaker, and made a lot of his more serious points using humor.

However, the one point he made that really isn’t too funny when you think about it, yet elicited the biggest chuckle from the audience because no one was at all surprised, was this: By the time the state taxes pot at the grower level, the processor lever, and again at the retail level, the cost will be just about twice the current illegal street price. This was supposed to be a gold mine for the state, and it’s spending millions of our tax dollars creating the bureaucracy to oversee it. Personally, I believe those supposed business geniuses down there in Olympia could figure out how to lose money selling whiskey in a whorehouse.