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I think it's time for debate.
April 21, 2010 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Going To Pot: Could Legalizing Marijuana Solve California’s Deficit?

"With a bill to legalize marijuana on the November California ballot, the controversy over the prohibition has reached a new high. Supporters see the potential tax revenues as a solution to the state’s mounting budget crisis, while those against (warning: awesome jpgs) argue that the increased use of marijuana will bring with it additional health care costs that far outweigh any economic benefits. "

Meanwhile, very quietly yesterday, Washington DC took the first steps towards legalizing medical marijuana.
posted by Potomac Avenue (136 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The board of directors over at Frito-Lay have a case of champagne reserved for the occasion.
posted by The Whelk at 2:04 PM on April 21, 2010 [30 favorites]


It's about damn time the government realized that they could make a killing off of this sort of thing. That Mint infographic isn't even taking into consideration the money increased tourism would bring in.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:05 PM on April 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


How about the increase in GDP from the productive labor of people who would otherwise be wasting time in prison or working their way through probation for 'victimless crimes'?
posted by doteatop at 2:06 PM on April 21, 2010 [26 favorites]


As I understand it, one need not smoke the weed. Brownie, anyone?
posted by Cranberry at 2:07 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Short answer: No.



But legalize it anyway.
posted by ymgve at 2:08 PM on April 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


This story should have come out yesterday! (4/20).
posted by emjaybee at 2:08 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it would be more accurate to say that supporters think it could solve about five percent of the budget crisis.

Which isn't a reason not to do it, but it's going to take more than legal mary jane to dig us out of the hole we're in.
posted by feckless at 2:08 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ahem the anti-marijuana crowd has this to say "Certain suddies suggest marijuana can cause the "man-boob" symdrome if used over a long period of time (hormonal changes). It will also stimulate your appetite and if you are a borderline diabetic can make you into a full diabetic if you are not careful with over stimulated reflexes that have your hands reaching for food."

So, yeah, nothing more to add to that.

(Be honest, Potomac Avenue, you picked that website for the lulz.)
posted by oddman at 2:09 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's about damn time the government realized that they could make a killing off of this sort of thing. That Mint infographic isn't even taking into consideration the money increased tourism would bring in.

The government? Wealthy capitalists with access to third world farming operations, access to international shipping channels realize they'd make a killing off legalization in the US is more like it - I think they're more on the legalization side than the addicted people I've met who want to get off the stuff but can't - they're addicted. What a mess.
posted by peppito at 2:09 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Very interesting. This bit has me scratching my head, though:

"The growers are going to get a little over $1,000 and it costs $1,000 to make a pound" of smokable marijuana, said Gasparas, who also runs the iCenter dispensary in Arcata

I take this to mean that the commercial growers would be hit fairly hard by the levy. Would individuals be allowed to grow their own? And would it also be subject to a tax? Lastly, what is the average retail value of that pound?

Inquiring minds and all that.

For the record, I'm in favor of legalization. Whether I'd smoke it or not is a different matter entirely.
posted by jquinby at 2:13 PM on April 21, 2010


(Be honest, Potomac Avenue, you picked that website for the lulz.)
posted by oddman at 5:09 PM on April 21


Dead serious, this is the only CA-specific anti-legalization website I could find. The lulz were simply a fortuitous by-product.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


My question is: What happens to the thousands of people who are currently in jail for pot possession if the weed gets legalized?
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:13 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


assuming a $50-an-ounce tax,

Buh? How much is tobacco per ounce? Like $3? Considering you have the perfect infrastructure already in place for avoiding government intervention in the commerce of a good, putting a $50/oz. tax is laughable.
posted by geoff. at 2:14 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are there any other instances where a state has set up a regulatory and taxation apparatus from something that's explicitly illegal under federal law?
posted by amber_dale at 2:15 PM on April 21, 2010


I was going to write a germane response, but then I got high.
posted by tigrefacile at 2:17 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was going to write a germane response, but then I got high.

like that's stopped anyone on the internet ever.
posted by The Whelk at 2:18 PM on April 21, 2010 [20 favorites]


From a comment on a previous thread:

Don't balance the budget on the backs of bud-farmers! Save Humboldt County — keep pot illegal!

Plus, almost $2 billion isn't the same as the $21 billion deficit forecast over the next 18 months [as of January 5, 2010]. It's a start, but it's no silver bullet.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:20 PM on April 21, 2010


This ballot measure will be the true test of whether or not the tea party really believes in liberty and limited government.
posted by mullingitover at 2:20 PM on April 21, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm as pro-legalization as anybody but another cost not mentioned is the loss of all those prison jobs that will suddenly become unnecessary. The prison lobby is the #1 reason why I'm betting marijuana's got a while to go before it gets legalized (prove me wrong, California!).
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:20 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


feckless: "7I think it would be more accurate to say that supporters think it could solve about five percent of the budget crisis.

Which isn't a reason not to do it, but it's going to take more than legal mary jane to dig us out of the hole we're in.
"

5% is 1 part in 20. That isn't a bad start. Let me see if I can put this in an easy to understand metaphor.

Let say you have a pot hole that needs 20 shovels of dirt to fill....

WAIT WAIT!! I got a better one,

You hide 20 easter eggs for the kids ....

EVEN BETTER!!!

You have a joint big enough for 20 hits ....

Um, I forgot the question.
posted by Bonzai at 2:23 PM on April 21, 2010


If it did, it wouldn't be long before the states had another huge deficit.
posted by Postroad at 2:23 PM on April 21, 2010


> warning: awesome jpgs

The question is: what the hell do butterflies have to do with drugs?
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:24 PM on April 21, 2010


As much as I agree with the economic reasons for ending the war on drugs, not jailing people for doing something to their own body is an even better reason.
posted by ripley_ at 2:24 PM on April 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


The government? Wealthy capitalists with access to third world farming operations, access to international shipping channels realize they'd make a killing off legalization in the US is more like it - I think they're more on the legalization side than the addicted people I've met who want to get off the stuff but can't - they're addicted. What a mess.

Importation would still be illegal under federal law.
posted by nestor_makhno at 2:25 PM on April 21, 2010


What was the question?

This sign is less cool than this sign.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:26 PM on April 21, 2010


I take this to mean that the commercial growers would be hit fairly hard by the levy.

Yes, indeed. And that is why the initiative is going down. Mark my words.

I would LOVE to see the citizens of California wake up and use their own brains for a day, but my cynical side says dispensaries, the (truly awful) prison industry, and other interested parties are going to kill this thing somehow. I'm hoping for the best, but I'll be betting (theoretically) on the worst.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:36 PM on April 21, 2010


assuming a $50-an-ounce tax

Yeah, that's the only thing that doesn't work here. a $50-an-ounce tax is ridiculous.
posted by DoublePlus at 2:36 PM on April 21, 2010


Would individuals be allowed to grow their own?

The way it's worded is that possession would be legal everywhere. Cities/counties would then be able to choose individually whether to allow sale & cultivation. So I'd guess that, say, in SF it'd probably be legal to grow and sell it, in more conservative areas you might have to drive a bit (like if you live in a dry county in the South).
posted by wildcrdj at 2:36 PM on April 21, 2010


Fwiw, we've had this conversation before. A couple times, I think.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:39 PM on April 21, 2010


a $50-an-ounce tax is ridiculous.

Well, depends upon the eventual price. $400-500/oz for "really good" weed isn't unheard of [at least on the black market, no idea what the medical pot stores charge], which wouldn't make that much more than the sales tax. But it should almost certainly be a % tax, not a fixed dollar amount, for that reason...
posted by wildcrdj at 2:39 PM on April 21, 2010


but it's going to take more than legal mary jane to dig us out of the hole we're in.

yeah. Cocaine and ecstasy, too!
posted by empath at 2:39 PM on April 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'd be happy enough if they just allowed hemp for widespread industrial uses like paper production.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:43 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Going by current UK street prices and current exchange rates, that'd be a ~18% tax (assuming you're buying ounces). That's not unreasonable. Heck, I'm sitting in country with 25% sales tax on everything right now, a 20% (assuming you fix the percentage, not the dollar value) tax on pot would still probably leave it cheaper than it is currently in the long run...

nestor_makhno, sure importing would still be illegal. However, the hugely decreased risk would increase the number of farmers (and the number of potheads growing their own) which would invariably drop prices. Producers are living the good life off the back of prices inflated artificially by legislation. Well, the ones not getting arrested, anyway. The big-time players in the current illegal supply chain have a vested interest in the legal status quo (just with less active enforcement).
posted by Dysk at 2:49 PM on April 21, 2010


"Certain suddies suggest marijuana can cause the "man-boob" symdrome if used over a long period of time (hormonal changes). It will also stimulate your appetite and if you are a borderline diabetic can make you into a full diabetic ..."

Funny, yeah, look at the wreck Schwarzenegger turned out to be.
Actually, now that I think of it, I know more guys in the gym that use THC than I do alcohol or anything else.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:49 PM on April 21, 2010


Would it really be a bad thing if men had their own boobs?
posted by chairface at 2:55 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Somewhat related and hilarious news story about 4/20 at UC Santa Cruz.
posted by spiderskull at 3:18 PM on April 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Would individuals be allowed to grow their own?

I believe you're allowed 25 square feet per residence to grow your own.
posted by Hoenikker at 3:18 PM on April 21, 2010


i could have sworn there was already a study done about smoking pot and lung cancer that (surprisingly) showed a zero or negligible incidence rate...possibly due to the oil-based nature of the active ingredients...anybody? bueller?

Would individuals be allowed to grow their own?
IIRC, those with a prescription for medical MJ are allowed to...
posted by sexyrobot at 3:22 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wealthy capitalists with access to third world farming operations, access to international shipping channels realize they'd make a killing off legalization in the US is more like it - I think they're more on the legalization side than the addicted people I've met who want to get off the stuff but can't - they're addicted.

This almost exactly describes my addiction to caffeine. I average 4-6 cups of coffee a day. I don't even have withdrawals if I stop; I just like the stuff too much. Luckily my addiction is legal and I don't have to worry about my life being ruined by being incarcerated for it.
posted by JackarypQQ at 3:23 PM on April 21, 2010


If you didn't watch the video in spiderskull's comment, go back and watch it. Pure local news gold.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 3:28 PM on April 21, 2010


I want an answer to this! Come on lawyers....."My question is: What happens to the thousands of people who are currently in jail for pot possession if the weed gets legalized?"
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:31 PM on April 21, 2010


argue that the increased use of marijuana will bring with it additional health care costs

Huh? There are no health problems associated with smoking pot. No link between pot smoke and cancer, no such thing as an LD50 for ingesting pot, nada.

What do they think people will do, get the munchies too much and develop Type 2 diabetes?
posted by mathowie at 3:33 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's worth keeping in mind how much an ounce of marijuana is. It's a lot. Generally enough for 40+ joints, and when you smoke the marijuana like a cigarette, you don't go through them at anywhere close to the rate that people go through tobacco.

An ounce of marijuana is probably comparable to a carton or two of cigarettes, so consider the tax involved there before considering whether $50/oz is outrageous.
posted by kafziel at 3:34 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some of those studies are cited in Super High Me and Grass, sexyrobot. But there are opposing studies. Although when it comes down to it, no one can point to a single person who has been diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of smoking cannabis.

As for the prison workers, and the would-be imprisoned, why ... cannabis legalization would be the best stimulus package ever! Give out small business loans for hemp farms, hemp clothing factories, for a thousand industries related to cannabis. Pipe cleaner fluid. Pipes. Pre-rolled joints. Pot food. Vaporizers. The possibilities are endless.

(I wonder what the Tea Partiers have to say about all this.)
posted by brina at 3:39 PM on April 21, 2010


Planet Money hit this topic back in January. It ends with the entire staff of NPR getting stoned and giggly in an all out tickle-fight. Renee Montagne wins.
posted by quadog at 3:44 PM on April 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


What do they think people will do, get the munchies too much and develop Type 2 diabetes?
Actually, that is exactly what they think. From the those against link: "It will also stimulate your appetite and if you are a borderline diabetic can make you into a full diabetic if you are not careful with over stimulated reflexes that have your hands reaching for food".
maybe they could also use a proof reader.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 3:46 PM on April 21, 2010


Legalize it, regulate it, tax it. None for me, though, thanks.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:48 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay, I said that "a $50-an-ounce tax is ridiculous" a little further up. It turns out I was reading an-ounce as an-eighth-of-an-ounce somehow. So yeah... disregard my statement.
posted by DoublePlus at 3:51 PM on April 21, 2010


Liquidwolf, that's a great question and makes me wonder too about all of their seized assets. The auctioning of their stuff has been HUGE business for local governments for a long time.

What really makes me happy is that this would be the end of a war against otherwise law abiding, productive citizens. I think THAT will make a big economic difference in the long run.

I only say that because being married to a teacher I'm constantly hearing stories about families being broken up and left to fend for themselves, often by criminal means, because Mom or Dad was incarcerated for some pot related charge.

I'll be there to vote!
posted by snsranch at 3:56 PM on April 21, 2010


This story should have come out yesterday! (4/20).

No, it really shouldn't have. Not to pick on you, but we have a prison system bigger than that of most countries here in CA, and marijuana is a huge reason why.

It's insanely wasteful and immoral, and it needs to stop, and all the lulzy stoner jokes just take away from the seriousness of the issue.

I, for one, would happily settle for decriminalization. I don't care if people still get traffic tickets for smoking in public. Just stop filling the jails with non-violent people who didn't do anything a reasonable person could define as a crime.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:02 PM on April 21, 2010 [14 favorites]


Wait, men don't have boobs? What's up with the whole nipple thing?
The 'it'll make you fat' thing is funny. There's footage of Schwarzenegger smoking marijuana. Tommy Chong was in pretty good shape. Cheech Marin seems to have gained weight when he stopped smoking. Woody Harrelson. Bruce Lee.
I'm aware of the munchies stereotype, but everyone I can think of offhand who's smoked marijuana has been pretty healthy looking.
On the other hand, a lot of celebrities tend to be in good shape, so that could be a confirmation bias thing.
How would you test someone who's been driving?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:09 PM on April 21, 2010


How would you test someone who's been driving?

How meow indeed meow.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:16 PM on April 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


For reference - or, I suppose, refeerence.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:17 PM on April 21, 2010


"The growers are going to get a little over $1,000 and it costs $1,000 to make a pound" of smokable marijuana, said Gasparas

$1000 to grow a pound?! That's only because they're mostly stuck growing inside, in secret, and distributing the product semi-legally, which means serious equipment costs, high electric bills, payments to distribution systems, security, etc.

But under legalization, the growing costs for most people (not large scale producers) would only include the price of buying seeds or clone starts, the usual bi-monthly water bill from DWP, and the occasional application of organic fertilizers. Our plentiful California sun and some horse manure and straw mulch should do the rest.

As a backyard veggie gardener who already has all this stuff ready to go, I'm estimating three pot plants in my raised beds next year, plus three more at my Berkeley-alumna mother-in-law's backyard, which is a mile away. Each plant should yield three to four pounds of usable (not necessarily highest quality) marijuana per plant. So, taking the lower estimate, six plants times three pounds each means eighteen pounds, or 288 ounces of pot, at a minimum. If it's true that one ounce means 40 joints, then that's enough pot for 11,520 joints. That's frankly ridiculous.

I'm seriously considering starting a garden blog next year to document this process...
posted by Asparagirl at 4:17 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Man, how stoned must I be to blow the spelling on "reefer?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:18 PM on April 21, 2010


i could have sworn there was already a study done about smoking pot and lung cancer that (surprisingly) showed a zero or negligible incidence rate

The most famous was that from UCLA's Donald Tashkin, one of the war on (some) drugs' big scientific supporters in years past.

("Tashkin is to marijuana as a cause of lung cancer what Hans Blick is to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction -an honest investigator who set out to find something, concluded that it wasn't there, and reported his results.")

Not only did they find no incidence rate, they actually found some preventative benefits:
"The odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant, but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. But that is not an unreasonable hypothesis."
Scroll down about 18% of the page for that quote.

I want an answer to this! Come on lawyers....."My question is: What happens to the thousands of people who are currently in jail for pot possession if the weed gets legalized?"

IANAL, but if they were sentenced for marijuana possession alone, I think they'd be let go, no? (I assume you mean prison, not jail. The ones in jail would never come to trial and would also be let go.)
posted by mrgrimm at 4:19 PM on April 21, 2010


On the other hand snsranch, law enforcement could potentially get even better at catching and convicting harder drug users and distributors, because of the resources they now have... resulting in the same amount of stuff getting auctioned. More speedboats and less blacklight posters on the block tho'.

One thing that legalization advocates should be gritting their teeth and saying is that law enforcement agencies should get a significant portion of the tax windfall, not get their budgets slashed.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:20 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a backyard and soon-to-be front yard! veggie gardener...

Coincidentally, four new raised beds are going to start being installed tomorrow. I've realized that growing grass -- er, I mean the lawn kind of grass -- is a waste of some of the best sun exposure on my property, not to mention horrible for my allergies and my son's allergies. (Grass-to-skin contact gives him hives.) And the land could be put to better use growing heirloom squash, corn, artichokes, and one huge new perennial flower border.

posted by Asparagirl at 4:26 PM on April 21, 2010


BuddhaInABucket: "I'm as pro-legalization as anybody but another cost not mentioned is the loss of all those prison jobs that will suddenly become unnecessary"

They're already unnecessary. Guarding people who aren't a danger to society isn't a job, it's a welfare system.
posted by mullingitover at 4:26 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Somewhat related and hilarious news story about 4/20 at UC Santa Cruz.

The reporter is lovin' the second-hand smoke. (Direct link.)
Stuffy UCSC spokesperson: "Quite honestly, we wish it would just disappear."

Reporter: "Heh heh. In a puff of smoke. Heh heh heh."
That's from the video. He left his response out when he quoted the spokesperson in the story.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:28 PM on April 21, 2010


This ballot measure will be the true test of whether or not the tea party really believes in liberty and limited government.

States' rights, bitches!
posted by kirkaracha at 4:29 PM on April 21, 2010


I was going to write a germane response, but then I got high.

la da da da dada da
posted by EarBucket at 4:29 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"What kind of shit is this! It's the best man, I got it from a negro. You're probably so high already you don't even know it."
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:32 PM on April 21, 2010


Irrelevant, yes. But I wasn't gonna not post that quote.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:32 PM on April 21, 2010


Liquidwolf: “My question is: What happens to the thousands of people who are currently in jail for pot possession if the weed gets legalized?

They would stay in jail. No part of any legalization initiative that I've ever seen or heard of would be retroactive. If you get busted for possession on Monday and it becomes legal on Tuesday, you still broke the law.

Making the change retroactive would be a guaranteed way to ensure that it wouldn't pass, because the anti-legalization crowd would paint it as "releasing thousands of criminals onto our streets!" (Actually I expect them to try and make this argument anyway, as a total lie, even if a legalization initiative doesn't do anything of the sort, because it's damn effective at scaring people.)

Mixing up "legalizing pot" with "pardoning drug dealers" would be the absolute kiss of death.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:34 PM on April 21, 2010


Some older studies I have read seem to indicate that if cannabis was legal it would have retail value of $1 per ounce. Medical marijuana has allowed for a price floor, because it keeps in place some barriers to entry. Since prop 215 passed in CA, prices have dropped.

I like to to look at the model for American Craft Brewing. It was illegal for anyone to brew beer in their own home until Carter repealed the law in the 1970's. It took until the early 80's for CA to pass laws regulating small brewing - the birth of a revolution.

A craft brewer making less then 2 million barrels (31 gallons) of beer a year get taxed at $7 for the first 60,000 barrels and then at $18 for the rest. Budweiser get taxed at $18 a barrel for their entire production. This taxation has allowed the 1,200 craft brewers to flourish in America.

The problem with CA's initiative process, is that laws are not very well thought out or presented to the voter. I would rather see a tax and regulate law that fosters small scale, organic, local production and taxes industrial level production that will occur when RJ Reynolds pulls the trigger on all their projects.

The other model would be along the lines of wine. Regional branding and quality will also help the Northern CA pot economies to make the transition.
posted by Herb Jones at 4:36 PM on April 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


drjimmy, whoa whoa. Making pot jokes...like about half of the people in this thread...does not mean I'm incapable of understanding the problems of overincarceration, have any problem with legalization, and so on.

Dial back your GRAR, ok?
posted by emjaybee at 4:46 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a funny thing, weed seems to do SOMETHING to the GI system and/or satiety centers, but there is definitely a cultural component to it. In some places, and among some individuals even in the American pot culture, the prevailing effect is described as appetite suppression. It seems that pot makes your tummy feel good, which some interpret as, "Hey, now I don't have to eat," and others as "Hey, now I can eat a whole lot!"

But I am not a weedologist.
posted by Mister_A at 4:49 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Personally, I'm pretty much over the legalization-vs-decriminalization-small-vs-large-scale-and-what-about-the-pot-farmers arguments. I have my opinions, of course, but they're not an issue right now.

Right now, we need to stop arresting people for marijuana. Now. The exact parameters of the first bill which may accomplish this are much less important than getting it passed -- in this case, overthinking a plate of buds is counterproductive. I am really, really hoping that all pro-pot Californians can put personal interest aside this November... or, alternately, that they can see their own personal interest in this bill. After decades of work on this issue, if our first shot at statewide pot legalization is sunk partially by pot growers and dispensaries, it'll truly be a shame. Some things are worth more than money.

The video spiderskull linked to raised my hopes, though. Perhaps it's not too audacious to hope that public opinion has finally turned the corner on this issue.
posted by vorfeed at 4:51 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


First off, LOL "Herb Jones" making an appearance in the pot thread! You win the prize!

Secondly, aren't you guys down there listening? Stephen Harper sez "drugs are illegal because they're bad." He's Canadian, and our stuff is stronger, so we know what we're talking about, OK?
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:52 PM on April 21, 2010



This ballot measure will be the true test of whether or not the tea party really believes in liberty and limited government.


I'm gathering signatures for a ballot initiative in Washington state- we are attempting to get a vote to decriminalize pot on our ballot this November. By all accounts from other volunteers, the Tea Party rallies are pretty productive for signature gathering.

I'm not pro-tea party, but there's a random anecdote for you.
posted by keep_evolving at 4:57 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they set the tax to high, the incumbent black market will just stay in place. So I'd say no.

If I were going to legalize weed, I would set the tax rate at zero for the first few years to flush out all the illegal growers. Yes, we all love our local organic pot grower, but the fact is a lot of this stuff is being distributed by Mexican banditos who are causing all sorts of problems, particularly in Mexico.
posted by delmoi at 5:03 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Asparagirl, if you're growing outdoors you're going to have to include product shrinkage in your costs. As I recall, there was a medical marijuana patient in San Diego who gave up growing because her plants kept getting stolen and every time she tried to make things more secure, the shitheads just did more damage to her garden/shed/whatever trying to get to it.
posted by stefanie at 5:06 PM on April 21, 2010


As I recall, there was a medical marijuana patient in San Diego who gave up growing because her plants kept getting stolen and every time she tried to make things more secure, the shitheads just did more damage to her garden/shed/whatever trying to get to it.

On the other hand, you could get a kick out of reporting stolen pot to the police.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:15 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmmm, good point. I don't want to attract crime to my house, although my backyard is fenced so I'm not sure how people would know the plants were there. My in-laws have a fully fenced/gated property with a dog, though, so growing in their yard might be easier. But the whole theft issue is mainly a problem because of the continuing scarcity issue and black market, isn't it? If pot were legalized, the would-be thieves might just grow their own. I mean, how often do alcoholics rip off people's homemade beer brewing equipment and private small-scale moonshine operations?
posted by Asparagirl at 5:18 PM on April 21, 2010


If pot were legalized, the would-be thieves might just grow their own.

Well, that takes effort. If you want it to be good, a lot of effort. (Although the best stuff isn't grown outdoors anyway). I'm personally way too lazy to grow anything myself, and I'm sure I'm hardly alone on that (and presumably of the set of people who would steal things, there would be a tendency towards laziness...).
posted by wildcrdj at 5:32 PM on April 21, 2010


although my backyard is fenced so I'm not sure how people would know the plants were there

Anyone with a nose will know a block away, and I think getting three pounds of goods per plant is extremely optimistic.
posted by Camofrog at 5:41 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


What happens to the thousands of people who are currently in jail for pot possession if the weed gets legalized?

They're in jail because they were found guilt of breaking the law. Changing the law after the fact isn't going to un-convict them. They will certainly remain in jail, no question.

Your best bet would be to convince the Governor to pardon those convicted. Maybe create a board to hear pardon requests from those convicted of nonviolent simple possesion. You could set up a fairly streamlined process.

Don't hold your breath, though. California is way more conservative than most out-of-staters would expect. When people think of California, they think of San Francisco and LA. But most of the state is sparsely populated rural and farming areas. During the last 100 years, Republican Governors outnumbered Democratic Governors 3:1.
posted by ryanrs at 5:50 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I have problems with little old ladies stealing my tomatoes; I doubt I could deal with agile stoners who are after some free pot.

I'm pretty sure in the case I'm thinking of, the woman had taken precautions to hide the plants and had been fine until somehow word got out; after that it was pretty much hopeless. The police weren't able to do much, other than I think to recommend that as long as people knew she had marijuana it was going to be just a long, tedious whack-a-mole kinda deal.

But let us know if it works out. I have neighbors with a freakish green thumb and they've been considering giving it a try. Indoors, of course, because we definitely have crop theft in our garden.
posted by stefanie at 6:01 PM on April 21, 2010




Yeah, I have problems with little old ladies stealing my tomatoes; I doubt I could deal with agile stoners who are after some free pot.


Distract them with a fake Doritos tree.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:05 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, that takes effort. If you want it to be good, a lot of effort. (Although the best stuff isn't grown outdoors anyway)

Ummmm..."a friend of mine" tried this on ummm...."his" balcony last year. It's actually very, very easy. Surprisingly so. They call it "weed" for a reason. The only tough part is knowing when to harvest (you need some kind of magnifying device) and remembering to plant it at the right time of year (if you time it wrong, it "flowers" during rainy season and is susceptible to mold. BOOOOO!)
posted by Kirk Grim at 6:28 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't legalize marijuana because you've run out of other things to tax. Legalize marijuana because it's the right thing to do.
posted by gyc at 6:36 PM on April 21, 2010


Oh Metafilter
posted by The Whelk at 6:41 PM on April 21, 2010


I don't buy the tax dollars argument. Pot is really easy to grow. It doesn't take a genius to cultivate a weed. And if you are a pothead who wouldn't bother growing a few plants or doesn't have pothead friends who would do so if it were legal, then you're not much of a pothead. The biggest "problem" with legalization in the case of pot (and maybe mushrooms, but no other drug I can think of) is that it will drive the price down to near zero. It's about 1,000 times harder to brew your own beer than it is to grow pot. It's probably 100 times harder to grow a year's supply of tomatoes.
posted by snofoam at 6:46 PM on April 21, 2010


yet people still buy potatoes which are stupid easy to cultivate in a barrel at home.
posted by The Whelk at 6:49 PM on April 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, also for asparagirl, the average yield per plant is probably more like three ounces than three pounds. Or so I hear.
posted by snofoam at 6:50 PM on April 21, 2010


Mr. Whelk, I would still guess that it is 50 times more effort to grow and harvest a year's supply of potatoes than it is to do the same for pot. It is probably 50 times more effort to wash a year's supply of potatoes than to grow a year's supply of pot.

And I'm not even counting the fact that many people would gladly grow pot, even if there was no yield whatsoever, just to be able to chill out and smoke a joint whilst sitting amongst their pot plants. You can make whatever comparisons you want, but there really is none that comes close to working in this situation.
posted by snofoam at 6:56 PM on April 21, 2010


I'm just saying people like convenience and will pay for it.
posted by The Whelk at 7:01 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think some people will, but there's really no precedent for having a drug (or pretty much any plant) that is as easy to grow. Suppose, for example, you're a casual user smoking 1/8th ounce every two weeks. That's just over three ounces a year. That's one plant. If you're a casual tomato user, you might get two weeks worth of tomatoes out of one plant. You'd need 25 plants for a year and a ton of effort in canning the tomatoes for the winter. No vegetable comparison will ever approach the equivalent yield per effort for pot.
posted by snofoam at 7:04 PM on April 21, 2010


Don't hold your breath, though. California is way more conservative than most out-of-staters would expect. When people think of California, they think of San Francisco and LA. But most of the state is sparsely populated rural and farming areas. During the last 100 years, Republican Governors outnumbered Democratic Governors 3:1.

After the whole Proposition 8 ridiculousness, I'd think outsiders are far less likely to think of us as a liberal state. But the fact that Ronald freakin' Reagan was our governor didn't seem to change anyone's mind, so who knows. My very, very large county (San Diego) is annoyingly conservative.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 7:26 PM on April 21, 2010


You'd need 25 plants for a year and a ton of effort in canning the tomatoes for the winter.

Not here. Six tomato plants and some culinary herbs in my backyard three summers ago grew me enough home-canned tomato sauce to last two people for about eight to nine months. California organic gardening FTW! This is part of the reason why I am perhaps overly optimistic about potential backyard pot yields; you can grow damn near anything down here*, with all this sun, as long as you water regularly and mulch heavily.

*Except for peonies and Dutch tulips, because they need winter chill, but you can substitute tree peonies and species tulips if you have to. And my experiment in growing trellised scarlet runner beans this year is proving that they may be a bust in this climate too.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:30 PM on April 21, 2010


$400-500/oz for "really good" weed

Really? Seriously? Is that what Americans pay for "really good" bud? Because up here in Canada, where we really have no choice but to grow indoors, an ounce of the best can't go over $300. I mean, most of us still cringe at $250. If you're dumb enough to pay >$400 for an ounce of weed, you're not getting the best around anyway. Can someone tell me how many US dollars the average American stoner ACTUALLY pays for an ounce?

By the way, that's whether our dollar is the same as yours or slumping at 85c. Not that it's relevant, as any way you slice it we NEVER pay over $300.
posted by randomyahoo at 7:45 PM on April 21, 2010


Seconding the $400/500 per oz figure - that's primo, top-shelf stuff though. Not sure what an "average" stoner pays. Maybe half of that?

$400 - $500 is, I can assure you, most definitely buying you the best around.

Or so I hear.
posted by kcds at 8:01 PM on April 21, 2010


Uh yes, weed is cheaper in Canada. Shocker. Moving on...

While weed would definitely become cheaper to buy if it was legalized, I don't think there is any chance it will become as cheap as tobacco in the near-future. If imports were illegal (which they would be for the foreseeable future), they would have to be grown in-country (in-state, really) and therefore the cost would be much higher than a fully-industrialized product. On the upside, it would employ people locally!

While home growing would be popular, it really isn't much easier than home-brewing - they both involve a minor investment, a couple hours work and several months of waiting. Per-plant yield in an outdoor garden is an ounce if you're lucky: this is in Vancouver, an optimal growing climate. If my victory garden was growing pot instead of vegetables (honest, just vegetables right now), I could get a couple pounds a year, if the season allows two harvests. Average apartment dweller could get a couple ounces per harvest from 6 plants, if they have a real green thumb, but they'd have to dedicate a closet to grow lights.

Moreover, pot smokers are pretty damn discerning. People are going to pay a premium for organic, sustainably-grown chronic. Even if the tobacco industry went into full-blown production of shitweed, the huge boutique market would remain. The average consumer would maybe try their hand at growing once, end up with a mediocre end product, and then save their time and buy it at the corner store.
posted by mek at 8:08 PM on April 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


$500 per ounce? Jesus. Inflation has really taken a toll.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 PM on April 21, 2010


I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol and the productivity benefits of caffeine. Marijuana is a cloud to escape onto, to forget about the worries of life - and it always makes me question - why is life worth living, if one wishes to escape it? Those I've known who've used it frequently become lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done.

I think weed isn't a problem to anyone using Metafilter. You're all too smart, you know when to stop and you have more in your lives than most people. However, it's the poor, the vulnerable, the lonely, the unborn children that are the reason it is still illegal. These are the kind of issues that I hope California considers when it decides exactly how it should be legalized.
posted by niccolo at 8:58 PM on April 21, 2010


This ballot measure will be the true test of whether or not the tea party really believes in liberty and limited government.
posted by mullingitover at 7:20 AM on April 22 [4 favorites +] [!]


Eponypropriate.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:14 PM on April 21, 2010


Moving on...

No, NOT moving on just yet. Respectfully.

I can believe that we get it cheaper, but I want to know why. I can't see overhead being significantly higher. Is it insurance against tougher penalties?

I'd like to know what the average stoner is really paying for an ounce of, say, purple kush in CA. It's probably not The Best Ever, but it's consistently awesome weed and we don't tend to pay more than $280 for it. That's in Alberta - BC is probably always cheaper. What is the fundamental difference between the Canadian and American pot industries that we don't get completely gouged for it?
posted by randomyahoo at 9:15 PM on April 21, 2010


pot smokers are pretty damn discerning

I forgot to address this. Seriously? Maybe with their pot, but not with their facts, in my experience.
posted by randomyahoo at 9:17 PM on April 21, 2010


niccolo

All that you have listed as reason enough to ban weed is reason enough to ban alcohol. Weed is a social drug and is growing to the acceptance that alcohol enjoys. The harm that it causes, which many will argue is less than that of alcohol, is becoming irrelevant as it grows into a tradition, something stronger than law.
posted by Bobicus at 9:20 PM on April 21, 2010


The unborn children?! Come on.

If the poor, the vulnerable, and the lonely have a drug to worry about, it's alcohol and its attendant "social benefits". Besides, marijuana actually does have some productivity benefits -- it has hundreds if not thousands of years of history as a working man's drug in the areas where it's traditionally cultivated. Please, go ask the pashtuns about how lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done it makes them!
posted by vorfeed at 9:22 PM on April 21, 2010


Did someone say Dorito tree?
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:46 PM on April 21, 2010


No, NOT moving on just yet. Respectfully.

Supply vs. demand. Risk vs. reward. This is basic economics. Being in the marijuana trade is much safer in Canada.

I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol

LOL.
posted by mek at 10:15 PM on April 21, 2010


oh metafilter....
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 PM on April 21, 2010


I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol and the productivity benefits of caffeine. Marijuana is a cloud to escape onto, to forget about the worries of life - and it always makes me question - why is life worth living, if one wishes to escape it? Those I've known who've used it frequently become lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done.

Lacks the social benefits of alcohol? Are you kidding me? Alcohol makes people get angry and punch each other, and have sex they later regret.

As for a cloud to escape into - what, and alcohol isn't used by people self-medicating? Most of the pot smokers I know don't consider it an 'escape'; they consider it an entryway into a different state of mind. Those I've known who've used it frequently are, in fact, bright, creative people, who accomplish a lot. (Also some who're less productive, even lazy - shockingly enough, pot smokers are people, with the expected range of human capability.)

Look, if you want to argue that pot has problems, I can listen. But I've yet to hear a single argument against the mind-altering properties of marijuana that doesn't apply equally or more so to alcohol, and I haven't heard a single argument against the health effects of marijuana that doesn't apply equally or mor so to cigarettes. We have a massively inconsistent and hypocritical legal system here, and as someone who takes the law very seriously, I think that's unacceptable.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:17 PM on April 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Maybe I missed it upthread, but of course these numbers assume that millions of Californians don't already smoke the herb, both in positive and negative aspects. Pot already produces significant economic activity, some of which produces taxable revenue. And whatever its health and safety costs are, the state is already bearing them with illegal weed.

Sure, legalization will likely increase overall usage, but don't premise any claims on an absurd zero usage baseline. Stoned driving, for example, happens all the time in Cali. Already. It is evidently a factor, but not a huge factor, in accident stats or deaths (certainly compared to legal booze, but note that drunk driving is illegal and yet people still do it all the time, so again, don't conflates technical illegality with abstention for alcohol either).

It's a raw, common plant. Its illegality is absurd, and that absurdity suggests that it's legalization is not to be feared. We have plenty of data.

Legalize it. Don't criticize it. Dude.

/social scientist
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:26 PM on April 21, 2010


I'd like to know what the average stoner is really paying for an ounce of, say, purple kush in CA.

ok, first of all, keep in mind, a whole ounce is like 1/2 a liter or more of pot...it's a lot. i have a friend who has a prescription to use the dispensaries, and the prices are pretty much the same as from a dealer, averaging about $50 for an eighth of an ounce (about the size of an average aspirin bottle)...you can get cheaper stuff (down to 'shake' (loose, dry pot...good for brownies) for $30-35/eighth) and more expensive stuff ($60-75/eighth), so you're looking at a price range of $300-600 per ounce (average/standard: $400/oz.)... $50/oz is totally not an unreasonable tax and amounts to about $6 on the average $50 purchase...

i'm sure you could buy a whole ounce of pot and get a 'volume discount', but i don't think a lot of people really do that, if only to avoid having enough pot around the house to look like 'intent to distribute'
posted by sexyrobot at 10:44 PM on April 21, 2010


I think weed isn't a problem to anyone using Metafilter. You're all too smart, you know when to stop and you have more in your lives than most people. However, it's the poor, the vulnerable, the lonely, the unborn children that are the reason it is still illegal. These are the kind of issues that I hope California considers when it decides exactly how it should be legalized.

So you believe that all adults should be denied the ability to do something because some people can't handle it.

I can see why someone might have that view, but I (and most people, I believe) consider individual rights to be much more important than you do.
posted by ripley_ at 11:53 PM on April 21, 2010


It's about 1,000 times harder to brew your own beer than it is to grow pot. It's probably 100 times harder to grow a year's supply of tomatoes.

Yes, but it's very easy to grow many of the herbs that sell for insane prices at the store, dried in jars. The coffee shops in Amsterdam are not giving the stuff away by any means, and it's not technically legal but might as well be. It would be good if it gets cheaper, but it will never be free, because most people will still not want to bother growing it. It's not hard, but doing it right takes some care and attention.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2010


I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol and the productivity benefits of caffeine.

Alcohol nearly killed me, and I had to give up caffeine for Adderall. Weed's OK. Helps with my ADD. Maybe you don't find a benefit in it, but that doesn't mean it's not there.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:01 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


brina: Some of those studies are cited in Super High Me and Grass, sexyrobot. But there are opposing studies.

I may be misreading you, but are you suggesting that these studies are somehow suspect or untrustworthy because of who cites them? I really hope I'm just misreading...

niccolo: I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol and the productivity benefits of caffeine. Marijuana is a cloud to escape onto, to forget about the worries of life - and it always makes me question - why is life worth living, if one wishes to escape it? Those I've known who've used it frequently become lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done.

Marijuana is very much a social drug. An evening spent smoking in the company of good friends with some good music on the stereo is a fantastic evening of meaningless banter, profound theorising, technical discussion, and good old-fashioned chat. There's pretty much never any violence associated with marijuana use, and it doesn't (as you purport) remove you from reality in any way - being blind drunk is far more of an escape into oblivion than being outrageously stoned is. Oh yes, and alcohol kills people. Pot does not.

Caffeine has productivity benefits now? Maybe in the very short term ('I can stay up and get a bit more done tonight!') but you'll have to make up for that lack of sleep eventually, and you cause a good deal of stress in the process (both physical and mental). Added to that, it makes you irritable, interferes with your ability to concentrate, and is properly addictive. Oh yes, and caffeine kills people. Pot does not.

Sure, there are some people who become "lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done". People manage to do that on the basis of just about every drug, so well as things that aren't drugs (the internet, sex, gambling, etc.), and sometimes even without any obvious external aid or cause. At the same time, there are a lot of cannabis users who lead full, productive lives, just like everyone else. You probably just don't realise that they smoke. Loads of famous and semi-famous successful people have been mentioned in this thread already, so I'll just add some slightly more personal anecdotes: several of my professors smoke, at least one of whom is widely recognised as one of the (if not just the) top guys in his field. Several of my friends smoke, graduated with very good degrees, and have gone on to hold down and do well in jobs in fields such as investment banking, international politics (UN, EU, etc), diplomacy, accounting, etc. Most of them continue to use cannabis, and while they use less than they did at uni, they're also using less alcohol and so on - it's entirely possible to have a sensible, appropriate level of use, and still do well in life.
posted by Dysk at 12:23 AM on April 22, 2010


Thanks mek, you've boiled it down nicely. I don't mean to be snarky, I really do get that it's that simple, but as I've said already... seriously?

sexyrobot, my thanks to you as well; I've been thinking in terms of a stoner who buys weed an ounce at a time. Your conversion info will likely be of more use to someone who hasn't seen a bagful. Additional kudos for using metric, eh?

And here's the thing about stoners, at least as I know it, waaaayyyy up here: we smoke a lot of weed. Enough weed that a volume (weight - always weight) discount will apply. An ounce costs $200-$280. Maybe this isn't your 98th percentile magic dope grown on the secret government moonbase, (maaaaaannnnnnn) but it's good dope. Trust me. We buy quarter-ounces for $70, halves for $140 and ozs for $240. What I'm getting at is that we're not that different, us Canucks and Yankees. If you smoke a lot of dope, you're better off: a) searching out the best around, and b) buying in bulk. Ziploc it in a cool, dark place. Cool.

So, I get it: weed is more dangerous in the US. That doesn't change the fact that lots of Yanks smoke it regularly and have incentive to buy ounces instead of eighths. Can anyone tell me what one ounce of good weed costs in California?
posted by randomyahoo at 1:17 AM on April 22, 2010


I am surprised everyone is so in favour of something that lacks the social benefits of alcohol and the productivity benefits of caffeine. Marijuana is a cloud to escape onto, to forget about the worries of life - and it always makes me question - why is life worth living, if one wishes to escape it? Those I've known who've used it frequently become lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done.

I think weed isn't a problem to anyone using Metafilter. You're all too smart, you know when to stop and you have more in your lives than most people. However, it's the poor, the vulnerable, the lonely, the unborn children that are the reason it is still illegal. These are the kind of issues that I hope California considers when it decides exactly how it should be legalized.


So you're also in favor of banning alcohol, fast food, candy bars and soft drinks right? I mean what you are saying is conjencture...but all the items above have been proven to give the lower socio-economic classes diabetes and early deaths.

So whadda ya say, niccolo?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:28 AM on April 22, 2010


randomyahoo: This isn't a direct answer, but weed in Northern California was typically $35 an eighth in the 1980s, or about what you're paying now. I would expect it to be substantially higher, twenty years later.
posted by Malor at 6:30 AM on April 22, 2010


in an all out tickle-fight. Renee Montagne wins.

Get out of my fantasies.
posted by the bricabrac man at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2010


Weed's OK. Helps with my ADD.

What.
posted by phrontist at 7:38 AM on April 22, 2010


What.

It does. My brain races around in circles all day, and it slows it down and helps shut out distractions so I can focus. It also helps me get to sleep, which has been a problem since I was very young - again a side effect of ADD. It tends to make me less social (though not always) and more prone to procrastinate, but these aren't serious problems, especially if I'm on Adderall at the same time. I personally find they are complimentary, like Adderall and Wellbutrin, but these effects are not consistent for everyone with ADD.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:09 AM on April 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


On a public radio show a pound of Mendocino outdoor was going for $800 a pound or $50 per ounce. Taking a trip 2 hours south, that same pound will get marked up to $35 or $45 per 1/8 ounce... Nice margin for the dispensary.

Yes, cannabis is a weed, not unlike grapes are a fruit. Either can grow without much care or thought, but there is an art to both. Some of the most cutting edge agricultural practices are occurring in the realm of cannabis cultivation - because the profit is there. Make wheat, corn, or soy $400 an ounce and I am sure we will observe huge technological advances in how they are produced and cultivated. Growing weed is easy. Cannabis genetics, cultivation, and curing is hard.

If tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis were all being considered for legality today, the health and safety issues of the first two would far outweigh that of cannabis. Social and political mores have kept cannabis illegal.

Illegal cannabis kept Nor Cal alive when the timber industry collapsed.

Legal cannabis will, more than likely deliver a huge financial blow to those same Nor Cal towns and counties.

Legal cannabis will also drive out the criminal element from our public lands and reduce the environmental impact from illegal watering and waste.

Done right, the financial impact can be reduced, the public financial benefit can be increased, and people can pay for the pot they want and can afford whether it be dirtweed schwag rolled into cigarettes or Cannabis Cup Trophy winners delivered in hand blown glass.
posted by Herb Jones at 8:33 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Legal cannabis will, more than likely deliver a huge financial blow to those same Nor Cal towns and counties.

It depends on how they go about it. It's possible to jumpstart an agricultural boom in those areas. On the other hand, California is having increasing problems wrt water supply and agriculture. But I do think it would be a benefit. And I'd probably move back.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:49 AM on April 22, 2010


I don't smoke it myself but they should legalize it. It would help bring in taxes and cut down the drug dealers. More $, less crime, creates jobs... I fail to see the negatives here?
posted by Mastercheddaar at 9:40 AM on April 22, 2010


The coffee shops in Amsterdam are not giving the stuff away by any means, and it's not technically legal but might as well be.

I defer, obviously, to our Ne MeFites but I recall that people were permitted to grow two plants of their own, just to underscore your point. There's still business to be had. And what mek said up above. I think people are conflating ability to simply "grow a plant" and the ability to grow something that can come anywhere close to what they can buy. People will still try, sure, but it won't catch on except among the hobbyists.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:05 AM on April 22, 2010


And, heh, just saw this. Just backs up what Dave Moss says: it's the leads...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:44 AM on April 22, 2010


Herb Jones, you're getting closer to what I'm trying to find out, but if a pound of outdoor weed goes for $800, it's not worth smoking.

One ounce of good weed from your dealer. Or your dispensary. Whatever.
What does it cost?

Not eighths, not from the 80s: what are heavy stoners paying for heavy bags?

Christ, I feel like I'm soliciting or something, and I'm not. I just recently quit smoking weed for the impact it has on my wallet, among other reasons. If I can find it too expensive at $250/oz, how the hell can the average American stoner afford to stay high all day?
posted by randomyahoo at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2010


Randomyahoo

You would be surprised at how good that $800 pound will be. The market is flooded, small growers have waited all year to get some cash and need to pay bills.

Dispensaries in the Bay Area charge anywhere from $400 to $500 an ounce. Go further out from Nor Cal the higher it goes... I have heard as high as $600 in LA.

Street dealing is less as the people who still hustle have to give clients an incentive not to go to dispensaries. That $400 to $500 ounce is available for $250 to $350 on the street.

One thing to think about when looking at pricing a high...

A great 6-pack will run around $10. A great wine would easily run $40-60. What you have to ask yourself is what is the high worth? For someone paying $60 an eight, they are buying more than just a high, they are buying an experience, from the color, smell, story, etc.

Someone just looking for a buzz, can get 2-Buck Chuck, Lucky Lager, and some ragweed for $50 an ounce in today's market.
posted by Herb Jones at 12:00 PM on April 22, 2010


Cannabis is already decriminalized in California thanks to S.B. 95, signed by Jerry Brown in 1975. Less than 1 ounce is $100 & no ride downtown: you're "arrested" and "bailed" on a promise to appear (convince the officer of your identity and sign the ticket) same as a speeding ticket, though it's a low-level, expunge-able misdemeanor, not an infraction, even though it's cheaper than speeding.

When I learned this, I gave up thinking about a dispensary & just went to a regular dealer, which is cheaper than medical pot.

I was worried for more for my dealer, but for small amounts over 1 ounce without tacking on "enhancements" (which a Mendocino grower is sure to get) are $500 & up to 6 months in county jail (but not state prison). That's life-alteringly long and an expense for the taxpayers, but it isn't life ending like the RICO seizures and 25 year sentences for other drugs or pot in other states.

Don't get caught holding at a school, though.
posted by morganw at 12:06 PM on April 22, 2010


Legal cannabis will, more than likely deliver a huge financial blow to those same Nor Cal towns and counties.

Fuck the growers who don't want to give up their shotguns, diverted streams and camps with poor sanitation.
posted by morganw at 12:10 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck the growers who don't want to give up their shotguns, diverted streams and camps with poor sanitation.

And actually, they'll probably get to keep them because the DEA may continue to bust grows. I wouldn't be surprised if local police continue to help them (e.g. taking down license plates of cars parked at hydroponic supply shops) supplying evidence in exchange for financial aid like extra salaries, cars & copters.

We need the growers back outside using the sun. The fact that there are indoor growers in Humboldt and Mendocino just because that's where they used to grow outside is idiotic. Yes, let's consume scads of electricity far from where it's produced because California's grid is in such good shape HAM fucking BURGER.
posted by morganw at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not eighths, not from the 80s: what are heavy stoners paying for heavy bags?

I consume about an ounce every ... oh, two months or so. (I suppose that seems heavy (eighth per week) until you meet the guy who goes through 3 eighths/day.)

randomyahoo: I haven't seen it cheaper than $350 since I moved to California in 1996. Well, I did buy from a home grower once for $50/quarter, which is $200, I guess, but it wasn't as good (though not bad at all). I never bought much in KY, where I lived before CA, but I think it was usually $20/eighth in the early '90s. Probably the same now.

I know one CA dealer who still charges the cliche price ($420), and two others who charge $400. All have good stuff and one offers several varieties (Trainwreck, Purple Mist, etc.)

I've never bought off the streets (from straggly dudes whispering "nugs"), but I suspect the price isn't any cheaper, since they're likely dealing eighths or less.

Those I've known who've used it frequently become lacklustre, empty, and unable to get things done.

Flip side: all the folks I know who use it frequently (some daily) are functioning professionals--developers, lawyers, managers, nurses, interior designers, executives, etc. I don't really consider maintaining (or even excelling at) gainful employment "getting things done" but most people do.

Honestly, I've suffered from low-to-mid-grade depression for most of my life. Marijuana helps me feel better, and it hasn't resulted in deleterious effects (IMO) in my health or lifestyle (yet). It HAS, however, made me fearful and suspicious of police.

I think weed isn't a problem to anyone using Metafilter.

I would disagree here as well. You might be surprised, but people can get addicted to marijuana (just as they can get addicted to shopping, gambling, etc.). The published addiction rates for marijuana are pretty low (6-8%), but it happens. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a MeFi reader who's had a problem.

Ummmm..."a friend of mine" tried this on ummm...."his" balcony last year.

Ditto. Not last year, but oh jeez, 15 years ago? Two potted plants on my balcony. You had to smoke about 8 joints to get high, but good for rainy days...

However, even though I had two large tupperwares full of dried balcony weed under my sofa ... I still bought "real" weed. Even in KY. I don't buy the "nobody's gonna buy it when they can grow it" argument at all.

When I learned this, I gave up thinking about a dispensary & just went to a regular dealer, which is cheaper than medical pot.

Yes, THIS ^^^. Why is this? It's not because of any tax. I always assumed the illegality of a substance increased its price on the black market. Not true?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2010


yeah the "social benefits" of alcohol and "intense productivity" of caffeine and sugar has to be a troll (or well-disguised hamburger).
posted by mrgrimm at 12:21 PM on April 22, 2010


Two potted plants on my balcony. You had to smoke about 8 joints to get high, but good for rainy days

"My friend's" stuff turned out great--just slightly weaker than the batch it came from. Produced about 3oz between the plants that made it to maturation, and "my friend" started growing from seed in late April/early May which is considered way too late in these parts. Add a bit of worm castings in the soil about halfway through, a bit of liquid organic seaweed fertilizer every couple of weeks later on, and presto! Again, all it took was a bit of research on the internet and a cheap magnifying device you don't need to buy until the very end, really.

At any rate, that surely taught "my friend's" dealer not to sell him a bag with seeds in it ever again.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:51 PM on April 22, 2010


Wooooowwwww, you guys. If an $800 pound can impress me but people still pay $400/oz... your market is fucked. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions, it took a little effort but I think I've got the picture now. Oh Canada!
posted by randomyahoo at 4:38 PM on April 22, 2010


The markets are generally pretty rational, black markets especially so. The ounce is the all-important legal threshhold; carrying an ounce gets you a ticket, carrying a pound gets you years in prison. Carrying pounds saves you a lot of money, but there are hidden costs. There is also the distinction of harvest season. Eg. 20 pounds of cherries in July are $20, any other time of year they are $100+. That $800 pound of outdoor weed is only available for purchase at very specific times of the year when the market is flooded.

Dispensaries can charge a premium because they are providing a premium product with professional service. I'm sure they get many customers who would not even consider buying pot off some random dealer.
posted by mek at 4:55 PM on April 22, 2010


randomyahoo: I looked up some dispensaries in the SF area that deliver and it was looking like 280 an ounce was a pretty standard rate. So you can find good stuff cheaper than 400 but you're looking at about 300 unless you get a good deal.
posted by JackarypQQ at 4:55 PM on April 22, 2010


Flip side: all the folks I know who use it frequently (some daily) are functioning professionals--developers, lawyers, managers, nurses, interior designers, executives, etc.

Word.

Willie Nelson.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Los Angeles Destroys Functioning Businesses in a Recession: But that’s OK with the city—those businesses are selling medical marijuana
posted by homunculus at 1:07 AM on May 7, 2010


Montana marijuana clinic firebombed before moratorium vote
posted by homunculus at 9:11 AM on May 11, 2010


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