Washington State has re-legalized marijuana. Prohibition retreats. It’s taken less than a hundred years since the re-legalization of alcohol. See? Society progresses. But progress doesn’t happen all at once, though it may seem that way in retrospect. Sitting here, typing this post from within the state where the voters have spoken, I still can’t indulge my curiosity, legally. I hear things have changed since my college days. What’s it like now? It will take some time to find out. A friend on facebook asked; “Are you considering a new business opportunity?” My response, “Always.“; mostly as a way to witness the subsequent trends. And there are a lot of trends beginning.
The discussion about legalizing marijuana makes it sound as if it was illegal forever and we’re breaching ancient walls. Back when the country was started marijuana, alcohol, and even opium were legal. I wonder if, what, and how much the founding fathers imbibed. I guess we are returning to traditional values. (That’s a joke folks. There will be more.)
Of the three, marijuana, alcohol, and opium, marijuana is the most natural. Let’s put aside opium because I see no way that it will be legalized unless the nation becomes unanimously Libertarian. Alcohol requires significant processing. Marijuana is a natural plant. Fires happen. Smoke happens. People breath. It probably didn’t take much for people to discover the effects. It is far more accessible than coffee and chocolate.
But marijuana is not legally accessible in my neighborhood yet. My layman’s understanding is that the law doesn’t take effect until December 6th. On Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, it will be legal for me to possess a small amount of marijuana because I am a Washington State resident more than 21 years old. From what I can discern, the legality ends there.
Possession of marijuana continues to be a Federal offense. But maybe the Feds are busy enough, and their incentives are small enough, that they won’t investigate, arrest, prosecute, charge, and incarcerate individual consumers. They’ve got enough to do.
It is also not legal yet to buy marijuana. The legal supplier will be the state government. It may take them a year or so to draft the proper regulations and set up the state-owned shops. This is ironic because we voters just privatized the state-owned liquor stores. If we’d left them in place, the state would have an existing infrastructure in place. But who expected the referendum to pass?
So, if it isn’t legal to buy it, is it legal to grow it? Nope. But it’s a naturally occurring plant. Like so many non-native species, maybe it just happened to take root and propagate some seeds. Nature happens. If it grows itself, is nature breaking the law?
Even if Washington State made every aspect legal, there’s a tricky situation with the money. The banks are federally controlled. Could non-Washington State banks legally accept deposits that were the proceeds of marijuana sales? Maybe this is an opportunity for local banks, currencies, and alternative economies.
The holidays approach, and those thoughts carried along some possibilities. Maybe marijuana isn’t legal to buy or sell or grow, but maybe it can be given as a gift. If it happens to grow naturally, and the plants become larger than the legal amount, is a landowner required to cut them back and distribute the excess? Happy Holidays! Imagine the wreaths, oh, but there’s a one ounce limit. That’s a tiny wreath.
Gardening businesses are probably already supplying the illegal growers, so maybe they won’t see much extra business. Though it would be fun to see pot sales go up. Buy a pot that just happens to have dirt and fertilizer and oh so sorry but it may have some non-native seeds in there. There may be a new set of gardening classes to tend your Pot In A Pot. (Maybe I should register that trademark and domain name. Rats. It’s taken.)
There will probably also be new sets of culinary classes. Brownies are iconic carriers, but I’ve seen marijuana added as an herb in omelets, cakes, and even tea. One of the few times I was surreptitiously seduced was by wonderful woman who served me an herbal tea that had amazingly relaxing properties. Pardon me as I take a sip of my very legal, personally blended, mint tea and reminisce.
Ah. Okay. What was I writing about? Oh yeah, trends, marijuana, and my neighborhood. Let’s get expansive.
The bigger trends are the ones that will have the greater, and equally welcome, effect. One of the reasons I’ve been in favor of marijuana legalization is that the cost and benefit of legalizing marijuana is much more compelling than criminalizing marijuana. Criminalize it and the prices go up, which draws in the dangerously illegal organizations, which requires more money spent on enforcement and less effort directed to more damaging crimes, while disenfranchising the citizenry. Abuse is possible. I’ve seen it. I’ve also seen people abuse alcohol. Neither should be driving, and those laws remain in effect. Given the choice between being around someone who used too much marijuana or too much alcohol, I know that it is the drinker that makes me worry. Whether it is from becoming an angry drunk or possible blood poisoning, alcohol is much more dangerous.
Whether it is new businesses to support the legal growth, distribution, or consumption of marijuana, or old illegal businesses becoming legal, Washington State can greatly benefit from this legalization of marijuana. Those same benefits can extend to the federal level. Before there was an income tax, and yes, there was such a time, a great portion of the nation’s revenues came from taxing alcohol. As a revenue generator and a cost reducer, marijuana is a marvelous growth industry (pardon the pun but wordsmithing around that would take too much time.)
Amidst all of those considerations, I asked myself that question my friend asked me on facebook, “Are you considering a new business opportunity?” The answer is still “Yes.“, but I realize that I’ve already established a business that works in that regard. I consult with creative individuals and small businesses. Now that marijuana is legal, my best contribution may be to help folks with that transition and expansion. I’d enjoy that.
Another thought came to mind amidst all of the possibilities. As a landscaping feature, is marijuana deer tolerant? Will bunnies and slugs devour the plants? If not, great. If they do, will they get the munchies to such an extent that they’ll eat my lawn and save me time mowing? That would be a major benefit right there – and probably the source of a stream of YouTube videos.