Pot And Profits

Medical marijuana advocates have been a force behind the legalization of the drug. For years we have been exposed to stories of people whose pain is eased by smoking pot. On the Venice Beach Boardwalk, that famous California tourist attraction, getting a doctor’s prescription and whatever amount one needs is as easy as buying sunglasses or other touristy trinkets. Washington State is now trying to legalize marijuana and Initiative 502 on the November ballot will essentially do that. It allows persons 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without penalty. It would issue licenses to those who farm the drugs, to distributors and even to stores. They could then sell it openly like any number of commodities. Initiative 502 would bring marijuana under state control and it is estimated by its backers that it would bring up to $606 million in tax revenue the first year, not to speak that in doing so it would take away profits from the drug cartels. As it turns out the medical marijuana dispensaries have banded together against the initiative. The official reason is that it would require most of them to get a license to grow the herb, and that those under 21 caught with its sign in their blood could loose their driver’s license. It appears, however, that there is another more immediate and practical objection behind the dispensaries not backing initiative 502—profits.