One of the things we’re finding out about the legalization of marijuana in states such as Colorado and Washington, which are ahead of California in the legalization movement, is that many of the promises made by proponents haven’t been fulfilled.
For example, we were told that legalization would get rid of the drug gangs once people could buy weed legally.
Sorry, that hasn’t been the case. The drug gangs in Colorado, for example, took note of the fact that legal pot was heavily taxed, lowered their prices and stayed in business quite easily. Their old customers knew just where to turn when the prices of legal pot took a big jump. Illegal-drug imports haven’t let up at all, and gangs are still growing pot in Colorado and Washington forests.
Also, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and even though the feds have given a wink and a nod to those states that have made it legal, drug dealing remains a federal crime. And, banks can’t handle the money that comes from drug sales, or from any crime, for that matter. Banks don’t want to lose their charters.
California is thinking about setting up a special state bank to serve the marijuana business, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the first branch to open. Banks still have to do business with other banks, and you can bet federally chartered banks would run from contacts with drug banks like rabbits run away from wolves.
Also, there’s the land-use problem. It turns out that people don’t want to have marijuana dispensaries or manufacturing facilities located in their neighborhoods, or even in their towns. The “Not in My Backyard” outcries are well understood by city and county planners trying to find a way to locate marijuana businesses without angering the locals.
A lot of people in states where pot is legal misunderstand the laws and fall afoul of those laws by misuse of the drug. They can wind up with drug violations on their records that will keep them from getting jobs, getting into schools, or being able to buy cars or houses.
So far, the promises haven’t been kept. Maybe some changes in the laws over the years will take some of the stink off the legalization scam.