Friday, November 22, 2019

Economics 101 For The "Legalize Drugs" Crowd

h/t to Kenny @ Knuckledraggin' blog

Write this on your hands, kids:
When we're right about something, and we've pointed it out, in depth and detail, ten times over, arguing against it is a waste of electrons.
Stop beating your dead horse; it's never going to rise and carry you to victory.

Illegal pot sales outpace legal cannabis in California
" California’s marijuana industry is undergoing some severe growing pains -- and it’s much bigger than just licensing permits.  
Nearly two years after recreational marijuana became legal in California, the black market is still much bigger than legal sales of marijuana. 
At All About Wellness, a Sacramento pot shop, business is thriving. In fact, owner Phil Blurton is planning to expand into a bigger building next month. But, he’s also worried about his illegal competitor(s) who don’t pay taxes. 
“Our city license now is $20,000 a year,” Blurton said. “The state license is $96,000. Then we pay 8.75% sales tax to the state." 
Blurton said he also pays an additional 4% cannabis tax to the city, on top of an additional 15% tax to the state, “which is making the cost of our product so expensive the black market is booming now.” 
It's booming to the tune of $8.7 billion in illegal sales this year. That’s more than double the legal market."


Legalizing it was supposed to "drive the cartels out of business" and lead to a Utopia where the government collects mountains of cash from pot farms fertilized by flying unicorns shitting strawberry-scented piles of cash.

And, Holy Obvious, Batman, who knew that criminals, by definition, don't obey the laws???
(Oh, besides every swinging Richard - by the thousands - that told you, going back decades, that legalization as a "solution", was a giant steaming mound of fresh hot horseshit?)

So how's it working out day to day, in Reality?:

(CHICO, CA) — The Special Enforcement Unit of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office made 12 arrests Monday after discovering $164,200 found stashed in a vehicle during a traffic stop on Nov. 6. 
The traffic stop spurred a search warrant on properties along Bonnie Meadow Lane in Brush Creek, said a press release issued Thursday by the Sheriff’s Office. 
According to the release, deputies believe the three arrested during the traffic stop were en route to buy a large amount of pot while armed. 
When serving the warrant, multiple men ran into the woods but deputies detained 15 people and arrested 12, all from Mexico
Detectives think the operation was being run by a Mexican drug trafficking organization. They destroyed 1,204 live marijuana plants, collected 278.91 pounds of processed marijuana bud, 457.32 pounds of marijuana bud on stem and 184.02 pounds of marijuana shake.
The Special Enforcement Unit also located and collected two illegal AR-15 rifles with high capacity magazines, one of which was a short barreled rifle, one AK-47 with a high capacity magazine, three pistols and ballistic rifle rated body armor. Detectives seized $14,380 in U.S. currency.
Roberto Estrada, 38, was arrested on suspicion of maintaining a residence for drug sales, employing a minor under the age of 21 to sell marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
Nestor Ortiz, 32, was arrested on suspicion of maintaining a residence for drug sales, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.
Cristobal Briseno, 19, was arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale.


Legalization was going to make the stupid, futile, impossible, nasty, evil, mean, rotten, unwinnable War Mutually Beneficial Slap Fight On (Some) Drugs, With Collateral Damage go away forever and ever, and peace would guard the planets, in the dawning of the new Legalized Pot Age Of Aquarius.

We've been assured this would happen in 5000% percent of cases. Apparently neither the Mexican drug cartels, nor the Butte County Sheriff's Office, got that memo.
How...curious and surprising. Not.


It's almost like bad ideas are always bad ideas, and criminals are going to criminal.

This was just one raid, on one day, in just one county in Califrutopia.

And those were just ordinary, decent, hard-working illegal aliens, growing the pot that Americans won't grow, right?

WHO was it that said “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. “They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
Because I forget sometimes.

And now, a word from the sponsor of this sort of fairytale happy horseshit:

Stop me if you've heard this one...

Cue the "If only we paid the government MOAR TAXES so they could raise or manufacture and give all drugs away free for anyone, free for the asking, forever, by the metric fuckton...!" Argument, in 3, 2, ...

So, tell me, how's that worked out with food?
Have we somehow won the War On Poverty with that?
Or do we just have nearly half the country addicted to being shiftless, fat, lazy, welfare-sucking piggies at government's trough?

(Hint: Check out People Of Wal-Mart and get back to us. I'll wait.)

Asking for the 50% of the country still pulling that wagon for Uncle.
So far.

Spare me the touchy-feely let's-buy-the-world-a-Coke 1960s hippy Left-wing party-line bullshit.
When your Utopia turns to a pile of shit after 15 seconds in the real world, your map is not the terrain. And never was.

And illegal drugs will ALWAYS outsell and underprice the government competition, even if drug cartels have to give them away and pay you to take them, just to capture market share and drive the competition out of business. (They can -and will - always jack the prices once they have a monopoly, and you're hooked. Google "rich heroin addicts", and get back to us.)

It's almost like they might have paid off some of the government @$$holes who enacted this nonsense in the first place (who now get money for and from both sides of the current farce),  to simultaneously make it fail, and yet end any enforcement on their otherwise-contraband, as if they were running a criminal fucking business where the only rule is "Succeed."

("Drug cartels pay off government shitweasels? That's crazy talk, Aesop." said no one ever.)

Politics is the continuation of war by other means.
The Enemy ALWAYS gets a vote.


Marina said...

Sorry, this is not about your great post but I thought you would next greatly enjoy ripping to shreds this Christopher Dummit(!)guy. It got out today in french papers here, just a byline, found one in english from Lifesite:

Aesop said...

"Gender historian" is an oxymoron.
He's small potatoes.
Pretty much anything in social "science" is faked nowadays (which includes globull warmist B.S., which is to actual science as phrenology is to neurology.)
It's how the campus SJW posses roll.

Anonymous said...

Pot store owner Burton is missing the most important fact about his fees and taxes. He keeps saying he pays city and state license fees as well as city and state taxes. He is wrong. His customers are the ones paying for all of those license fees and taxes.
If someone can get your pot somewhere other than your store for less money, you're dependent upon only those pot smokers who will legally purchase from the state authorized stores.

Just wait Mr. Burton until the state realizes they are not getting the expected revenue and raise the taxes even more!

Skip said...

The kids tell me that they are offered weed all day, every day at school, delivered.

A.B. Prosper said...

The only way to deal with the drug problem supply side is to seal the borders and go full Juche.

Nothing in, little out.

This especially includes people BTW.

Our leaders big .gov, big church, big business and especially the Chamber of Commerce would rather see the US die than give up open borders and open trade.

This still won't win the war on pot though. Even this GMO poison they pass off as marijuana today is fairly easy to grow anywhere and there is a lot of anywhere to grow it, places that sasquatch doesn't have time to patrol much less the police.

You could try to make weed fully legal with low taxes and controlled potency but you'll still have a government boot up everyone's ass. Maybe this would work if you were willing to spend tens of billions and lock up enough people but it might not and it's gotten to the point where you'll be able to expect jury nullification of many pot cases.

You really can't have both our current Constitution and a war on drugs that millions of people want to use.

And for the record war on drugs did more damage to Constitution and rule of law than anything else. It's why we have so much plea bargaining bullshit and a huge erosion of the system.

Getting people to not want drugs is they key and a high corruption urban society with broken families and no traditions that peddles nonsensical hundskit like diversity and consumerism is building an incentive for drug use.

It matters not whether that drug is legal and approved with fairly low risk like a 3 Martini Lunch , Illegal but safe enough like old school weed or outright deadly like most of the rest.

people like drugs, modernity sucks, there is demand so there will be supply.

Now if you can get almost everyone in our leadership class to have minimal tolerance for corruption, be basically vice free and to push that at every level for decades all the while making the decisions that build a stable homogeneous moral society, you can win the demand war.

Otherwise you can go Brazilian death squad brutal, rape the Constitution further and turn the US into even more of an abattoir and fail.

Anonymous said...

As for legalization.. only .gov could screw this up by pricing it so high via taxes that illegal sales continue to flourish. Poor .gov policy is usually the reason for black markets in the first place. As a buddy of mine used to say, they could screw up a one car parade.

Found this interesting: "... a minor under the age of 21...."
Um.. minor that can drive, vote, and go die Mom, Chevy, and apple pie. These differences in age for different adult activities steams me to no end. Either you are an adult capable of understanding what you are doing and assuming all associated risks or you are not. You'd think in the digital age this simple yes/no would be obvious. And some of the pols want kids to vote at 16. We need to pick an age of majority and stick to it on the responsibility side as well as the bennies side. I know.. snowballs.. Hades...

T-Rav said...


I'm curious; based on your experience, out of all the cases of dealing with drug-addled patients at the hospital you've talked about before, how many of those are strictly potheads, versus those who started on pot and graduated to the really hard stuff (fentanyl, etc.)?

Just wondering, given all the debate over pot and whether or not it's mostly dangerous as a gateway drug.

Allen said...

I don't care what you do there will always be smugglers, so you might as well jump right to the harshest punishment. At least if you hang them and leave them it will feed the scavengers. Next up, someone will propose a tax stamp like on cigarettes and that will fix it. There will be no truckloads of product without the tax stamps. Just like before.

A.B. Prosper said...

Allen, I'd rather use tax stamps make selling drugs easy, taxes low and get some of the revenue than get little or nothing than do what we are doing that is for sure.

The Cali system sucks but 1/3 of a loaf of better than nothing and there is room for reform that will get more weed to be above board.

The US has put more people in prison as percent population than any other society in human history other than a few tyrannies. Net effect? It got worse.

hell a hundred years ago we went gonzo enough to try and ban alcohol, a substance that fueled the founding of the nation and gave us half a century of utter corruption and empowered the mob.

It failed so hard we had to reverse the amendment 15 years or so later.

Any and all prohibition attempts will fail hard unless as a society each individual in it decides they don't need or want to use drugs.

To get there would require changes in society that are roughly as possible as Nigerian mission to Alpha Centauri

The current stupid system will never work in the current society.

Now sure drug prohibition worked after a fashion when shame, loss of status and public opprobrium lowered demand.

We don't have this now and more importantly can't get it. Our leadership is incapable of the conduct required to do it and as above so below. And note this includes business leadership, political leadership, church leadership. All of it.

On top of that, no one really wants it. people like getting high and like vice. This is normal human behavior in every culture

If you want to try get there, well what you do is start with marriage reform, work reform, and make sure that compliance to a sober social order grants social status.

This means an unrecognizable social model and an end the grifter's paradise minrachy the Founding Fathers intended.

If you have an army of Holy Warriors and Untouchables devoid of the taint of corruption who are lead by mean with vast lore on human nature and who can build a nation that is moral and functional with the stock we have go for it. Otherwise the US is getting what you would expect.

And note even if you had that army of Holy Warriors , best case you can mitigate the damage and instead of driving under the influence weed, you back to old fashioned DUI

The war needs to end and we need to find a way to mitigate the damage.

And note too that as much as we need a wall, even a total succession of all trade, migration and visitation along with tens of millions of repatriated people would do nothing to stop weed.

Its a plant and anyone who can water a plant on schedule can grow ditch weed, the nasty new stuff can be grown by anyone who can grow hydroponic tomatoes It's not hard and it can't be stopped nor can you threaten lower status on someone who smokes weed.

Even jail won't do this. Too many people have already gone and hell people, mean and women alike openly discuss jail and prison on YouTube

It's not a low class thing, two Democratic Presidents have used weed and one Republican was a coke head and a boozer, aka an addict. No one cares.

IMO the war is lost and will stay lost so best to find a way to reduce the harm till we can find a way to reboot morality.

Aesop said...

We never fought a WAR on drugs.
We've been doing a slapfight.
The terms are not interchangeable.
The only similarity is the casualties, but only to our side.
Imagine a war where your side only spanks the enemy, then turns them loose.
Who wins that?

Drug recidivism in Singapore and Saudi Arabia are both at about 0%.
Prosecute the ones who smuggle and deal, once, and you'll have so damned little drug use left to deal with it'll boggle the mind.

Decouple use from approbation, including any medical care whatsoever, and you'll get what's getable of the rest, and probably only have to live with 0.1% of the current problem, and those will generally weed themselves out of the gene pool in Darwinian fashion.


FTR, about 90% of every psych pt. we get (which is no small number, btw) is positive for THC.
At a certain point, that stops being mere coincidence, and starts being predictive, but I leave it to actual statistics to tell you when you've crossed that Rubicon.

We also see 3 or more pot OD patients nightly, including numerous minors, for whom nothing is legal, something we didn't use to see ever prior to legalization.

But we were promised there was no downside to pot legalization, so it must be true, despite my lying eyes.

A.B. Prosper said...

The US is not Singapore which is a small island or Saudi Arabia, the later of which has a significant heroin problem and worse it's princes are involved in smuggling.

Also while in theory we certainly could fight a war on drugs you'd need the political will to do it.

Officer Safety isn't going to fight the cartel since they can find his kids easily and have no morals and military law means you get your guns seized and a bullet in the skull when you fail to comply.

The other component closed borders won't happen .Invading Mexico to secure our southern border border couldn't be done when the US was 5% Mexican, it can't be done done when many counties are mostly Hispanic.

hell we can't get the GOP to build a damned wall and as soon as Trump is gone it will probably be torn down anyway.

Cheap labor, Feelz and and Democratic votes are more important than a nation.

Because there is no will you cannot fight.

As far as pot legalization. I suspect if pot was natural weed and not this GMO crap , you'd have far fewer problems. Pot use was epidemic in the 70's and actual psychosis as vs bad trips were far rarer.

This is because of potency issues. Modern marijuana is cracked compared to coca leaf 3x stronger than the strongest hash and engineered to stimulate and addict. It's essentially reefer madness made real.

Old weed made you pass out, modern weed makes people crazy.

Now laws that restrict potency and put harsh penalties on selling unlicensed weed that fails parameter checks (max potency, method of growing and such) is lightly regulated and lightly taxed might help. Maybe.

Otherwise you just have to deal with it or find another job basically. Frankly you'd be better off away from Cali anyway

now this doesn't mean a harder approach might work, I doubt it but I could be wrong. In any case you aren't getting it so its moot.

No one wanted to fight a real war and the half war was lost.

T-Rav said...


People don't "just like getting high."

I have been offered a joint, in the city at night--in Europe, no less--and by a member of the opposite sex. I could have gotten high on many different occasions, had I wanted to. Zero peer pressure against it at the time, nobody back home would have ever had to know.

Never have, to this day.

Some people do undeniably like getting high; and I could point to any number of vices they either already had or had picked up as a result of doing pot on a regular basis.

No one is ever going to convince me that pot should or will be socially tolerated the way alcohol or tobacco is. Lots of people who like their booze or even the occasional cigarette aren't going to be okay with marijuana. The notion that they will is something only Cheech and Chong could've come up with.

Anonymous said...

The unmentioned unintended consequence is the people who continue to just grow their own, thus avoiding all that crap about cartels, taxes, etc.

Steve said...

"He's gonna fix the ecomony."

"We'll spot the illegal producers 120 grand in licensing, plus 23% of the gross, plus 40% of the net, plus regulatory, accounting and legal costs."

"They are still profitable? Moar taxes and fees on the legals!"

"Mafs hard."

Must be all that sidestream ganja. Out here in flyover, we hold first graders back until they figure out that addition makes numbers bigger.

George True said...

A.B. does bring up one point that is at the crux of the problem. The weed of today is MANY times more potent than the weed that was used in the 1960's and 1970's. How much more potent I do not know; I have heard figures of anywhere from 10 times to 50 times more potent. I remember reading in the 1970's about this new superstrain of marijuana called semsemilla that was being cultivated in Hawaii, grew up to 50 feet tall, and was an order of magnitude more potent than natural marijuana. Since then it has apparently been hybridized many times, for purposes of robustness and enhanced potency, and this is the stuff that in our world today is 'regular' marijuana.

Imagine kids as young as 8 or 10 or 12 years old having access to and consuming this truly mind altering substance on a daily basis. Imagine what a daily dose or several daily doses of this shit might do to the developing brain of an adolescent. Well I do not need to imagine it, I have seen it with my own eyes. I have watched two neighbor girls (sisters) grow up from toddlers to now an 18 year old and a 16 year old. They both started using weed daily about five years ago. As another commenter said, it is available for purchase at school every day. These used to be smart, friendly, loving girls. Now, at a time in life when the world should be their oyster, they are both destroyed, mentally and emotionally. They both flunked out of school, they both have disciplinary issues, both have been arrested. Their level of intelligence and mental acuity appears to have regressed substantially over what it used to be. They are sullen, and both suffer from depression. At their tender age, they are addicts.

You cannot tell me that this new weed is not incredibly harmful to a developing young brain. While we can never hope to eradicate a plant that anybody can grow anywhere, at the same time we cannot afford to just throw up our hands and accept this as the new normal. It is NOT normal. It is a genetically altered substance that is destroying young people from the inside out like nothing else ever in the history of the human race.

Aesop said...

@George True:

That was the entire point, since ever, and by malign design.

Anonymous said...

Umm, didn't someone up thread say "Wait until they raise taxes to make up the shortfall?"

Didn't have to wait long for that.


elysianfield said...

"Decouple use from approbation, including any medical care whatsoever, and you'll get what's getable of the rest, and probably only have to live with 0.1% of the current problem, and those will generally weed themselves out of the gene pool in Darwinian fashion."

The "Realpolitik" of this issue will require the above. I have often thought and even occasionally posted the "Tough-Love" Decriminalization concept.

Wanna smoke? OK, but you're gonna die...
Wanna Juice? Ok, but you're gonna die...
Want unprotected anal sex? OK, but you're gonna die...
Wanna get High? OK, but you're gonna die...

And maybe soon....

A.B. Prosper said...

elysianfield, society cannot write off huge parts of its population and continue to exist. This is especially so as the opiate issue effects smarter White people mainly. This is gutting your foundational stock.

Drugs, super weed and all the rest are a large problem not a tiny percentage of beatniks but huge swathes of the population.

You cannot "moralize" your way out nor can you do it on the cheap.

It requires a multi pronged regulatory and structural approach and deeply difficult , expensive and nigh impossible political choices.

To use a weak plant metaphor root of it is culture, , the stem availability , the branches dealers and the leaves, users

Every problem must be dealt with, no half measures, no checking out. None of that.

This means roughly

Root: huge scale cultural reform to stable, intact nuclear or extended families with long term well remunerated employment for all skill levels.

Stem: closed borders or at least full inspection till the supply dries up. An example, we get a ton of fentanyl from Canada, via China . If Canada doesn't stop it on their end, we have to seal our northern border completely , something we haven't basically done in centuries

Branches: we have to have the correct legal intoxicants , moderate taxes and reasonable regulation and draconian punishment for non compliance combined. The Cali way, half assed regulation and ignoring the rest is obviously failing but we lack the will/interest/ability to go full bore North Korea on tens of thousands of people , so you have to do both. You also need proper regulation of prescriptions

Leaves. Yes you need treatment and sometimes punishment as well. This means big changes and sometimes greater costs to manage opiate use and get people off the things.

It can be done, it should be done but the will isn't there for the most part. That has to change.

OvergrownHobbit said...

@Mr. Prosper

Alcohol and any other drug are apples and oranges. I once thought that my deep dive into MHRA could be simply carried over into the Race Realism crowd. Hahahahaha. No. Separate research required (And it is such a cess pit)

Nonetheless... Embrace the healing power of *and*. Mr Aesop is correct about the folly of legalizing / normalizing pot use. But you are spot on with this:

"If you want to try get there, well what you do is start with marriage reform, work reform, and make sure that compliance to a sober social order grants social status."

No reason to wait on the half-assed play-pretend fight against (some) drugs.

And Mr. Aesop, I still owe you a proper thoughtful response on your objection on the Wilder blog. I'd say I am going to gimp my way upstairs and make it... But once I get there I'll just get back to work.

Some day!

A.B. Prosper said...


Alcohol is a deadly drug responsible for vast carnage and for some people it is highly addictive. Anyone who has been around an alcohol addict or abuser knows in the wrong hands its nasty stuff.

Not as bad as say heroin true but its not safe by any means. Prohibition was stupid but the havoc attributed to alcohol was real.

By comparison old school weed (maximum of maybe 6% max THC , not this modern stuff) is an immensely more pleasant drug for society and not much more addictive.

However the new high potency marijuana is over 5-10 x stronger than what people smoked to relax back in the day and has a lot more active compounds, many quite novel . It's dangerous evil stuff.

I won't even mention opiates and meth.

What we needed to do was to regulate potency of weed and make it legal years ago but our inability to actually govern in a smart and effective way renders it moot. We have the same problem the rest of the Americas have, a corrupt society run mostly by looters.

Democrats who hate everything about the country and Republicans who conserve nothing.

At least President Trump gives a crap but we need a fiercer President than him and to fix the foundations, family, jobs, marriage and such and deal with drugs.

elysianfield said...

You post was incisive and certainly reasonable. However, I believe that the "great swaths" of population, those especially who enjoy destructive habits (Not to mention, arguably that they are marginally productive citizens, if at all) are all going to die, sooner or later. Consider that our society currently does not have the resources to cure, treat, maintain, nor even jail those who might have personality disorders, addictive personalities, nor be of predatory intent. Consider also that we have spent the last 50+ years "fighting" the war on drugs, and "we ain't winning"...we are not even holding our own.

We can agree that "treatment"...effective treatment if you could even define the term, is wildly expensive (at scale), certainly beyond the means of our current situation to afford. But...there is another that has worked throughout human history. The object lesson.

Consider Aids. When the causal relationship between unprotected anal sex and the eventual terminal disease was established, many avoided the disease by using protection. Those that chose not to? Well, many have died, and more will continue to do so.

Users gonna use.
Dealers gonna deal.

When little Johnnie sees his best friends die of drugs...well, that sends a much more understandable message than "Just Say No".

When drugs are freely, or cheaply available, the dealers at street level will not be driving Mercedes, but rather the old, beat up Chevy's with dented fenders.

You could make the case that Drugs are the chlorine in the gene pool.

"elysianfield, society cannot write off huge parts of its population and continue to exist"

AB, In this you are correct... THIS society, in it's current iteration, certainly. I would further opine that a healthy percentage of the population that would be written off are of marginal value to society, as it stands.

"and deeply difficult , expensive and nigh impossible political choices."

AB, THAT is the road to a solution? Chlorine is cheaper, easy, and politically already acceptable, at some level.

Chlorine in the gene pool.

MTHead said...

To me, most of the problem starts with welfare. It's hard to be a drug addict. Having to get up and go to work in a "drug free" environment everyday. For very long anyway.(I tried several times.) And paying someone to lay around is a breeding ground for this problem.
And as Aesop sez. It's not a war on drugs, it's a slap fight. Hang anyone with over a pound, cain anyone with under that amount. Drop the idea of rehab.. And start a program of making examples out of transgressors. And you'll see change quickly.
Alcohol is a perfect example. Prohibition brings up tells of "revenuers" and the "St. Valentines day massacre" as the bad old days.
Compared to the amount of carnage just on highways alone? Let alone the broken homes. And the fact that its the biggest "gateway drug" there is.

elysianfield said...

"Alcohol is a perfect example"


And, indeed, it is the perfect example. Once legal, then made illegal, then legal again with an understanding that the war was unwinnable and that the irresponsible use of alcohol leads to death.

You fully recognize the above as a very thin metaphor for drug use. You are aware of the tremendous costs, in human quality of life, and otherwise, that alcohol abuse portends. You do not argue that alcohol should be again made illegal, yet the drugs seem...different?

You have, in the past, called for a chlorine in the gene pool...perhaps drugs represent that cleansing agent?

It is simple "Realpolitik".

Aesop said...

No, because the "cure" is worse than the disease, and it slaughters millions of helpless innocents.

Drunk behavior is already mollycoddled.
Wanna drink? Over 21? Knock yourself out.
Intoxicated in public? Six months on a chain gang. Hard labor, six days a week.
Serve alcohol to a minor? Five years in pound-me-in-the-ass prison. No parole.
Hurt someone while intoxicated? 10 years in pound-me-in-the-ass prison. No parole.
Kill someone while intoxicated? Summary execution. No appeals. No excuse. No recidivism.
Do that, and I'd even support lowering the drinking age for beer to 18.

And don't bitch when the prison population skyrockets. Fuck up as an adult: get fucked up right back.

This isn't hard. What's lacking is the spine to do it.