Reefer Madness: The New York Law on Legalized Marijuana is a Triumph of Politics over Logic

Below is my column in the Wall Street Journal on the New York plan for subsidizing marijuana businesses with a preference for those with prior criminal records — or their family members. Legislators yielded to every political temptation in piling on dubious tax burdens and class-based preferences on this new market.

Here is the column:

New York state seeks people “with experience” to help establish what could become the biggest legal marijuana market in the country. “Experience” in this context doesn’t mean an impressive résumé, a history of working with venture funds or an MBA. Instead, New York will offer licenses and subsidies to people with marijuana convictions on their records.

New York legalized the possession and use of marijuana for adults last year and created a licensing system to govern eventual sales in brick-and-mortar stores. New Yorkers will even be able to get joints delivered right to their doors.
The application window for these licenses closes on Sept. 26. The state anticipates the first legal dispensaries will open before the end of the year. The size of the legal marijuana market in New York could ultimately be more than $7 billion annually.
Politicians are eager to tax and regulate all this commerce. The legal marijuana market could be the source of massive new tax revenue for New York. Many states have already piled excessive taxes on to legal weed sales. New York is  planning an array of taxes, including a complex tax based on potency of the pot and rules preventing cannabis businesses from writing off standard business expenses. That is in addition to a 9 percent overall tax rate. https://www.syracuse.com/marijuana/2022/03/getting-into-the-weeds-of-nys-cannabis-taxes.html  But what legislators ignore is that all these taxes have the perverse effect of increasing black-market demand. After Prohibition ended, people didn’t continue to buy bathtub gin when legal and safer alcohol was available. But states also didn’t massively increase the price of newly legal alcohol to make bathtub gin more attractive. In New York, there is already a burgeoning $2 billion marijuana black market. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-07-18/new-york-s-2-billion-of-illegal-pot-sales-threatens-the-legal-market

 

Under the new regulations governing Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses, New York is seeking “justice involved individuals” to apply to become licensees. A justice-involved individual is anyone who was “convicted of a marihuana-related offense” for anything from a small amount of pot to a major drug operation. (For some reason, the Office of Cannabis Management insists on spelling “marijuana” with an “h” rather than a “j.”) The program also has a curious legacy benefit. You can claim to be a justice-involved individual if you had “a parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, or dependent who was convicted of a marihuana-related offense in New York State prior to March 31, 2021.”

 

The logic of the state preference for ex-convicts is based in part on the idea that a history of illegally selling pot constitutes relevant “business experience.” Yet, the experience derived from running a criminal drug operation doesn’t translate well to the demands of a lawful business. Former street-level dealers have probably never struggled with regulatory compliance or tax accounting. Indeed, illegal operations deliberately avoid such responsibilities, preferring the simplicity of cash-for-contraband. As Milton Friedman noted, “the black market was a way of getting around government controls.” That isn’t behavior politicians in Albany or any other state capital should be looking to encourage.
In fact, the former felons with the most “experience” are the ones the state should be most worried about. Large, illegal marijuana farms tend to be associated with criminal gangs and other organized criminal elements. They deal violently with competitors and often set dangerous boobytraps for backpackers who wander unknowingly into fields where marijuana happened to be growing. These marijuana veterans may have lots of experience, but it is not necessarily the type of experience that we want as the foundation for a multibillion dollar market.
New York wants to kickstart the weed market by distributing $200 million from its Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund to help pay for beneficiaries to set up shops and pay for overhead.  Notably, the state indicated that it wants to limit application and documentation requirements as a way to make licensure accessible. This is money the state should recoup over time if it distributes licenses to competitive applicants. But pushing former criminals to the head of the line doesn’t seem the best way to ensure the money isn’t wasted. What led these ex-cons to commit drug violations was likely money, not marijuana. Most probably didn’t view pot as a calling.

 

In the end, the program may not even succeed in keeping dispensaries local. How does New York plan to prevent successful applicants from taking both the subsidies and licenses and selling them to the large corporations that the state supposedly wants to deter? If that happens, and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t, New York will have succeeded in doing what the market would have done on its own, but at a cost of hundreds of millions dollars to taxpayers.

 

If anything, marijuana demand increased during the decades of prohibition. The market for legal marijuana doesn’t have to be a mess. States such as New York only need to step aside and allow the market to favor those with the best plans and most experience. Consumers in this and every market benefit from competition, which provides options and lower prices. The state benefits from sensible and fair taxation. None of this means that economics must prevail over equity concerns. But when creating the legal and regulatory foundations for a brand new market, politicians should let commodities take root before harvesting the proceeds.

 

Mr. Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

78 thoughts on “Reefer Madness: The New York Law on Legalized Marijuana is a Triumph of Politics over Logic”

  1. It is likely that chronic use of marijuana is destructive to developing minds. “In addition, some studies have shown that ‘early and frequent cannabis use in adolescence predicts poor cognition in adulthood,’ he added.” [https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/20 /health/marijuana-brain-cognition-wellness/index.html]. Why would legislators want to diminish the mental powers of its citizens?
    But now even “hash”, the more concentrated form of cannabis, may be possessed by adults in small amounts in New York. [https://norml. org/laws/new-york-penalties-2/]
    I remember the words written by Malcolm Muggeridge in Chronicles of Wasted Time (Regent College Publishing 1972) at p 253, regarding the effects of smoking hash on his college students in Egypt in the 1930’s. I will quote as much as permitted:
    “ . . . They seemed to be faraway lost in some distant dream of erotic bliss; a consequence, no doubt in the case of many of them of their addiction to hashish, widespread among the effendi class and prevalent among the fcllahin, especially the ones who had moved into thc towns. The deleterious effects of this addiction were, in those days, universally taken for granted; and the Egyptian authorities following a path of modernisation and national revival on the general lines of Kemal Ataturk’s in Turkey, spent a lot of money and effort in an attempt to stamp it out. Russell Pasha, the head policeman and the last Englishman to hold the post was particularly active in trying to prevent hashish getting into the country, and in reducing indulgence in it. At the League of Nations, too, the suppression of the traffic in hashish was one of the few things the member states unanimously agreed about. If anyone then had suggested that all this endeavor was misplaced because hashish did little harm, and was anyway non-addictive the suggestion would have been received with incredulity and derision. To the best of my knowledge no one at all reputable, or for that matter disreputable, ever did make such a suggestion. I had to wait forty years to hear it made, and then not just by crackpots and wild libertarians; but by respected citizens, clergymen, purported scientific investigators and other ostensibly informed and enlightened persons. When I hear or read their apologies for hashish, I recall the Zafiaran Pdacc and the stupefied faces and inert minds of so many of the students there; the dreadful instance of the destructive effects of this drug on bodies and minds which any resident io the Middle East was bound to encounter. I know of no better exemplification of the death wish at the heart of our way of life than this determination to bring about the legalization of hashish so that it may ravage the Wcst as it has the Middle And Far East “

  2. This is why I laugh at the liberal idiots who want a federl law about abortion. As pot and sanctuary cities have shown, the libs feel it is ok to ignore federal laws and do what they want. So fine, make a fedaral law about abortion and let the conservative states ignore it.

      1. I’m not sure where I wrote that. Dems are the ones who don’t follow federal law. So go ahead and make abortion law, we’ll just ignore it like you guys like to do.

      2. The wicked solution has the intent to keep women affordable, available, and taxable, and the “burdens” of evidence aborted, cannibalized, and sequestered in darkness.

  3. Instead of investing Tax Dollars in: Drug Eradication, Drug Rehabilitation, Drug Prosecution/&/Recidivism, Drug XYZ (whatever Tax Dollars are spent on).
    Spend the Tax Dollars on: Morgues, Bio-Disposal Systems, Cleaners, Exit Facilities (Swiss), …

    Drugs are here to stay, Users are here to stay, let them poison themselves to Death. We just have to ‘clean-up’ after their being.
    So there is no thought of their useless lives, and the We can go on living a healthy Life.

    Fentanyl, Heroin, Marijuana, Alcohol, and all the things in between, should be decriminalized (not legalized) so the User can have access to their early Grave.

    With 8 Billion People on the planet today, the USA will not miss a small percentage that use street-drugs.
    Stop chasing a unobtainable reality, or you’re being just as bad as an Addict.

    The ‘First Step’ is to admit it. (Drugs are a greater power over this Country)

    BTW: It is the policy in Other Countries.

  4. Why don’t they just cut through all the crap and lease the entire contract out to MS-13 and be done with it?

  5. Jonathan: Even in my conservative state the GOP controlled legislature is considering making legal the sale of marijuana. They desperately need the revenue to compensate for the tax cuts they are pushing through for the wealthy, corporations and their big contributors. It’s all slight of hand but the GOP doesn’t think the voters will notice.

    Speaking of marijuana Kellyanne Conway has apparently been smoking too much of something. As everyone will recall Conway was a Trump WH advisor and spent most of her time gaslighting and covering for all of Trump’s lies. She became infamous for her claim that Trump had “alternative facts”. Conway was on Hannity’s Fox show yesterday attacking John Fetterman, the Dem Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, for his support of cannabis legalization. In her attack on Fetterman Conway said: “He put the marijuana flag up. He thought that was funny.. He’s trolling his opponent. Here’s what’s not funny: that there has been a doubling of [marijuana] overdose deaths in Pennsylvania”. Conway has always been loose with the facts. A state report (2020-2021) indicates there has been a 3% increase in drug overdose deaths–the large majority from fentanyl and opioids. There have been no marijuana overdose deaths during the same period. Oh, well. Kellyanne can’t help her gaslighting and lying. It’s in her DNA.

    By the way, I once “overdosed”. Ate 6 “hip chips” and couldn’t find by car keys for 2 days!

    1. Dennys:

      Kellyanne Conways did not say there was a doubling of marijuana deaths in Pennsylvania. That word was inserted in your quote. She said, “Here’s what’s not funny—that there’s been a doubling of overdose deaths in Pennsylvania while he’s been in office from 2015 to 2021. Fentanyl is rankling every corner of this state.”

      It is entirely valid to criticize a pro-recreational drug attitude towards marijuana as being inappropriate in a drug crisis. Marijuana has been definitely proven to be linked to other drug uses. In addition, there are numerous studies about marijuana causing psychotic breaks. It also causes cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. I was in the ER a while ago, next to a man who cried, screamed, begged, and violently vomited for 5 hours. Morphine didn’t seem to touch his agony. He was suffering from CHS, and apparently it wasn’t the first time he’d put himself in the hospital from cannabis. I heard the nurse tell him that he’d better not do this again. He was losing too much potassium from all the vomiting, which could affect his heart. She told him he could die from this. The online description of “severe vomiting” in no way encapsulates the absolute pure hell that poor guy suffered. He would scream while vomiting. He was in excruciating abdominal pain, which meant that when he vomited every few minutes, that painful abdomen seized up, making his agony become unbearable. He would start begging, pleading, and eventually screaming every time he vomited. There have now been reported cases of people dying from this, usually because they didn’t go to a hospital. They can tear and damage their esophagus so badly it can become necrotic.

      The reason why people of color have been disproportionately affected by marijuana busts, is because it is part of poor black culture to smoke weed. That doesn’t mean smoking weed is good for you. Marijuana is linked to psychotic breaks, a marked decrease in IQ points when smoked in adolescence, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, lung damage, and other health affects. It saps ambition. Why in the world would Democrats excuse its common use in black culture, when it is so demonstrably harmful to health and future prospects?

      Democrats are bashing this lady, pretending she said there were marijuana deaths, or that marijuana was comparable to fentanyl. You’re missing the point. She had every reason to point out that Fetterman’s pro-cannabis stance is going to worsen the drug problems plaguing his state.

      https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/er-visits-linked-marijuana-rose-colorado-hospital-after-legalization-study-n987161

      “The researchers examined nearly 10,000 patients at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital from 2012 to 2016, finding that while sales of edibles are lower than inhaled pot products, people eating marijuana candies or food were more likely to show up at the ER with severe panic attacks or other sudden mental disorders. Inhaled marijuana caused a higher rate of hospitalizations, mostly due to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a severe vomiting condition associated with heavy cannabis use…“Acute psychiatric visits like acute panic attacks, acute psychosis, and acute-on chronic conditions such as acute exacerbations of schizophrenia were also much more commonly associated with cannabis edibles,” said Monte.”

      The dispensaries and grow sites are associated with crime. There are illegal grows all over the place in rural areas, like mine. They get robbed, and sometimes, sadly, have loose dogs deliberately traumatized to be vicious. Taxes are so high that there’s a bunch of illegal dealers and grow sites to get around it.

      https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking/smoking-facts/health-effects/marijuana-and-lung-health

      “Smoke is harmful to lung health. Whether from burning wood, tobacco or marijuana, toxins and carcinogens are released from the combustion of materials. Smoke from marijuana combustion has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants and carcinogens as tobacco smoke.4-7”

    2. Crime and drug use are out of control, most especially in Democrat-run cities. Democrats have created a very permissive culture about drugs, especially pot. Like you, they showed utter disdain when Kellyanne Conway, or anyone else, exhibits anything less than glowing recommendations for cannabis.

      3 in 10 people who use marijuana have Marijuana Use Disorder, which means they are addicted and cannot stop.

      https://www.cdc.gov/dotw/marijuana-use/index.html

      Pot use associated with opiod abuse, underscoring the validity of Conway’s opinion:

      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30562289/

      “Marijuana use during recovery was associated with increases in both total prescribed opioids (regression coefficient = 343 MME; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 87 to 600 MME; p = 0.029) and duration of use (coefficient = 12.5 days; 95% CI = 3.4 to 21.5 days; p = 0.027) compared with no previous use (never users). Among patients who reported that marijuana decreased their opioid use, marijuana use during recovery was associated with increased total prescribed opioids (p = 0.008) and duration of opioid use (p = 0.013) compared with never users.

      Conclusions: Our data indicate that self-reported marijuana use during injury recovery was associated with an increased amount and duration of opioid use. This is in contrast to many patients’ perception that the use of marijuana reduces their pain and therefore the amount of opioids used.”

      1. “3 in 10 people who use marijuana have Marijuana Use Disorder, which means they are addicted and cannot stop.”

        Your comments are a litany of abuses and disasters.

        You don’t criminalize something (e.g., guns) just because some abuse it.

    3. Seriously, the Democrat Party just seems incapable of making any policies that would improve the quality of life in the areas they control. Their promotion of drug culture can have devastating consequences. Doing drugs is still promoted as cool in many Democrat-controlled Hollywood movies. With the opiod crisis taking so many lives, and the higher suicide rates, Fetterman is wrong to promote pot, which is associated with psychotic breaks, mental illness, loss of IQ, and higher risk of opiod abuse.

      https://www.samhsa.gov/marijuana

      “Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects:

      Brain iconBrain health: Marijuana can cause permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.

      Gears iconMental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.

      Bicycle iconAthletic Performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.

      Driving signDriving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.

      Baby carriage iconBaby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.

      Arrow iconDaily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.”

      https://www.dea.gov/stories/adolescents-and-marijuana

      “Adolescent marijuana use is associated with increased prevalence of psychotic, mood, and addictive disorders and with short and possibly long-term impairments in cognition, and academic performance.(National Institutes of Health)
      Regular use of marijuana by adolescents has led to negative effects on brain development up to age 25, in areas of attention, motivation, memory, and learning. National Institutes of Health)

      A New Zealand study demonstrated that heavy smoking of marijuana in teens resulted in an average loss of 8 IQ points. .(National Institutes of Health)

      Students who smoke marijuana are more likely to drop out of high school.(National Institutes of Health)

      In 2017, teens 12-17 reporting frequent use of marijuana showed a 130% greater likelihood of misusing opioids.(US Department of Health & Human Services: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

      Research shows that 1 in 6 teens who repeatedly use marijuana can become addicted.(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

      From 2017-2018, marijuana use increased to 63% in 8th and 10th graders and 53% in 12th graders.(Smart Approaches to Marijuana, May 2019)”

      1. More of Karen S, the Trump disciple know-it-all. I’m pretty much convinced someone is paying her to use every possible social issue topic as a means to attack Democrats. Please stop lying, Karen S. Democrats do NOT promote “drug culture”. There’s at least as much marijuana use in ruby-red states as anyplace else. Do you really think per-capita marijuana use is less in, say, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio or Missouri than New York? Michigan legalized the sale of marijuana years ago–do they have the problems you describe to a greater degree than places where marijuana is illegal? You might want to know about these facts before shooting off your mouth and blaming Democrats. The most-hilarious part of the tripartite diatribe above is calling Kellyanne a “lady”. She’s a calculated, chronic, baldfaced liar. Here’s another thing you don’t understand, Karen S: one cannot have an “opinion” about facts. Another thing: there is no such thing as “alternative facts”. And, what the hell are you doing repeating information about some person you claim to have overheard in an ER, anyway? You don’t know anything about the man’s possible other health problems that could explain his abdominal pain. Maybe he used marijuana to ease his suffering from some other condition, like gastric ulcers, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulitis, or something else. Karen S: you really don’t know what you’re talking about most of the time, and it is disingenuous of you to try to turn every social problem in the US into an attack on Democrats.

        1. Natacha: Well stated about what’s wrong with Karen S. It’s like her interchange with me re the migrants in Martha’s Vineyard. It’s all about her “alternative facts”. Maybe if George Conway gets some sense and moves out Karen S and Kellyanne can move into together. What a pair!

    4. You do not seem to be able to disagree with people without libeling them.

      I am libertarian, and I am prepared to end all government restrictions on drugs of any kind. Not just marijuana, not just heroine, but an end to the FDA. Let the market and torts regulate drugs.

      The same with alcohol and vice.

      But I am not naive. Ending the war on drugs will not end drug addiction, or overdoses. It likely will not even reduce it. The impact of drugs (and alcohol and vice) is pretty bad. But over and over the evidence is that we can not fix that with force.

      We can not solve the problems of alcohol, drugs or vice. But we can eliminate the costs and damage of our efforts to use force to do so.

      With respect to Conway’s remarks. Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf warned the entire state in 2017 of the huge spike in overdoses of K2 – synthetic Marijuana. In my county there were nearly 200 in a few days. K2 overdoses are exceeding those of Heroine.

      Making Drugs, Alcohol and vice legal – if possible completely legal, taxed and regulated no differently than anything else is not a GOOD thing.
      It is just the least bad choice we have.

      The most consequential benefit to ending our drug laws, is getting government and law enforcement out of a war that it can not win, and that makes a real problem worse.

      Those who support the war on drugs are wrong. They are factually wrong, not morally wrong. They are not wrong about the devastating impact of drugs, they are wrong about our ability to use force to improve that. They are rarely hypocrites,

      Fetterman can make his own choices regarding what flags he flies. There are three reasons to push for an end to our drug laws.
      The first is that you are advocating for drug culture.
      The second is that you are advocating for personal freedom – even when people make choices that harm themselves.
      The third is that you grasp that the drug war is an expense destructive mistake. That is can not be won, that it does not make anything better.

      Fetterman flying a marijuana flag suggests that he is supporting the first – and worst reason.

      I support Fetterman’s freedom to make bad personal choices. But not with my vote.
      I do not support Conway’s committment to continue the war on drugs. Conway has more compassion than Fetterman.

    5. “She became infamous for her claim that Trump had ‘alternative facts’.”

      She’s “infamous” only in the minds of those who are dishonest or lazy.

      Here’s her actual quote: “You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.” In other words, he gave facts to dispute a claim with which he disagreed.

      Better that he give no facts for his claim? Or is he just supposed to bow in agreement to whatever the MSM claims?

      1. Sam: Good for you! Thank you for giving us her actual statement. –And this is why I often, in my comments, talk about “selective facts,” –leaving us on our own to find the ignored/non-reported facts.

  6. Well, it’s New York, the home of diehard liberals. Don’t expect anything sane or rational to come out of that urban dump.

  7. The main reasons for cannabis legalization never about who sells it. The main reason for cannabis legalization has always been to end all criminalization, discrimination against, and punishment of cannabis consumers. New York has done an excellent job at this and the vast majority of New Yorkers are very satisfied with cannabis legalization.

    Cannabis Consumers Are Not Criminals!

    End the systematically failed both state and federal policies of criminalizing consumers of a natural, relatively benign plant, proven to be far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol and tobacco.

    End The Federal Prohibition of Cannabis Now!

    Legalize Nationwide! State by state if need be!

    It’s time our country wakes up and learns from our history.

    Prohibition does not prevent people from consuming cannabis. The demand will be there always and therefore cannabis will always be served up to the public regardless of cannabis prohibition laws. The alcohol prohibition era criminal organizations and gangsters such as Al Capone of yesteryear are the Pablo Escobar, El Chapo and drug cartels of today.

    The Temperance Movement didn’t catch on and last in part because it was a dead horse from the start.

    Prohibition only serves to further fuel the vast wealth and corruption, violence and death attributed to the criminal organizations which flourish under it. By providing cannabis to meet the continual demand at inflated prices. Just like with alcohol, cannabis prohibition doesn’t work, makes no sense, and costs the tax payers a fortune yearly.

    Legalization creates jobs, improves the economy and let’s us as a nation focus the wasted resources currently used to criminalize citizens over cannabis towards things much more needed and useful.

    This is how freedoms get taken away from The People. First, a small minority doesn’t morally approve of cannabis. Tomorrow, it’s R-Rated movies, certain books and literature and eventually that minority aspires to make every citizen conform to their personal sense of morality through laws which criminalize everything that they personally don’t approve of.

    Tell us something prohibitionists:

    Why do you feel justified in endlessly wasting billions upon billions of our yearly federal tax dollars continuing to arrest, criminalize, incarcerate, and hand out life long permanent criminal records to otherwise hard-working, tax-paying, adult citizens for choosing to consume cannabis although it is far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol?

    Shouldn’t their first and foremost priority be protesting the legality of alcohol if they really aren’t just biased and truly so “concerned” about other people on what those whom oppose cannabis legalization deem to be a “dangerous drug”?

    Why do the anti-cannabis folk apply such a blatantly obvious unfair double standard to far less dangerous cannabis that they obviously don’t apply equally to far more deadly, dangerous and harmful yet perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol?

    Legalize Nationwide!

    1. The new law seems to be for the purpose of allowing rich people to buy at a higher price than the black market – and buy safely. As Turley points out, the black market will not go away.

  8. “New York wants to kick start the weed market by distributing $200 million from its Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund to help pay for beneficiaries to set up shops and pay for overhead.”
    ‘Social Equity’ ???????????
    I say, better to spend that $200 million on getting the potheads out of homeless shelters and into rehab/TX centers that have the LOWEST recidivism records.
    Anyone who wants some pot already knows where to get it.

    1. (p.s., I personally find marijuana no more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes and have long believed in the legalization and regulation of it as is done for alcoholic beverages.)

        1. In reply to Lin,

          Sure you believe that…*wink wink*. Lol. While you refer to cannabis consumers all as “potheads” who live in “homeless shelters” and need to be sent to “rehab/TX centers”.

          Yeah, you obviously a true cannabis legalization advocate…*wink-wink*.

          Do you actually think that stating you are pro legalization after your anti-cannabis rant will add more credibility to your obvious anti-cannabis legalization prohibitionist position?

          You “Big Cannabis Legalization Advocate”, you! *wink-wink*

          *yawns some more*

          Next?
          (Desperate, irrational prohibitionists and the levels they will sink too….lol Tff)

        2. Upstate, do you think it is too late to buy stock in the companies that produce breathalyzers for Marijuana?

      1. lin:

        From my research, I disagree that pot is no more harmful than cigarettes or alcohol.

        I posted a few links above, but in a nutshell:

        Pot smoke has many of the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarette smoke.
        It’s associated with psychotic breaks and mental illness, especially when taken as edibles, which cigarettes and alcohol don’t do
        Can trigger schizophrenia in patients who are genetically susceptible
        Adolescents who use it can lose 8 IQ points, never to be recovered, and are more likely to suffer mental illness and abuse opioids
        It’s associated with a marked increase in the risk of abusing opioids
        It impairs driving longer than alcohol does
        It can cause Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome – I witnessed this in the ER where this guy in his 20s begged, cried, and scream-vomited for many hours. It was awful. He said his guts hurt like they were filled with glass and knives, and no pain killer seemed to touch it. This wasn’t the first time he’d put himself in the hospital from it.
        It was surprisingly found to be addictive, with 1/6 adolescents and 1/10 adults getting addicted, unable to quit even when it caused health and social problems for them.

        https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/19/704948217/daily-marijuana-use-and-highly-potent-weed-linked-to-psychosis

        1. Hello Karen: I base my opinion on these, inter alia, factors:
          (1) alcohol and tobacco are both regulated-precisely for the addictive and societal harms they cause. But drunk teens (and adults) are still causing fatal accidents every day. Not so much with MJ–maybe because those “habits/addictions” are more often engaged in private settings and the health consequences are primarily limited to the user. Who vomits on sidewalks more and staggers into public places more, pot users? Naw, I would say alcoholics. Who beats up spouses and children more, pot users? Naw, don’t think so. Who misses work/calls in sick more, pot users?
          Moreover..Second-hand smoke harms us all.
          As to the symptomatology/symptomology associated with alcohol and smoking:
          Smoking includes: COPD, alveolar incompetence, bronchial, esophageal, and lobular carcinomas, and other cardiovascular/circulatory pathologies–in addition to the second-hand smoke risk to society at large.
          Drinking includes: liver cirrhosis, blood disorders, esophageal and GI cancers, lupus and other skin disorders, etc..
          BOTH conditions result in enormous numbers of cancers,–something that we yet lack success in effectively curing, and thus creating irreparable costs, both pecuniary as well as moral.
          So I personally believe that the SOCIETAL cost, as well as the personal health consequence cost, is not “more harmful” with weed than with alcohol/smoke addictions.
          You know, I am a chocolate milk freak and engage in other chocolate indulgences. I sought medical opinion, and the doctor could not figure out my infrequent but persistent tachycardia and other periodic cardiac arrhythmias (otherwise healthy BP/weight/fitness, etc.) until he discovered my chocolate addiction.
          In any event, I do not disagree with your comment of the enumerated harms. Thanks for your comment.

        2. Karen S: “from my research”–I literally laughed out loud. Karen S: it’s not considered “research” to look for pieces that support the outcome you’re looking for–that’s just engaging in confirmation bias, and you do it all of the time, whcih is one way I know you didn’t go to college. I didn’t read the article you attached, but even the title says “highly potent weed”, so it may be limited to the facts of that particular product. And, once again, what are you doing discussing some patient in the ER whose history you know nothing about?

  9. What a novel concept. What possibly could go wrong? I truly believe those in the New York Government have lost their collective minds. As the gentleman above pointed out, the weed can affect reflexes and particularly judgment which tells me the state legislature must have had a weed smoking party just before writing and then passing this law. I think the Professor is correct that people will try to evade the tax and the criminal element will grow. Their was huge moonshine industry in the south for decades after prohibition when people continued to try evade the tax. Also led to lead poisoning in large groups of people because the condensers were car radiators and the moonshine, being acidic, would dissolve the lead salts that where in the material used to seal the radiators. Huge medical problems to deal with. You often had methanol (blindness, severe acidosis) in illegal alcohol in the north and lead poisoning in the south. All occurred after prohibition ended.
    Who knows maybe we will get a return of “Thunder Road” as the Semi’s thunder down the expressway to NYC to deliver the untaxed bundles of weed. “Bring back the Revenooers!”

  10. Get it straight irrational prohibitionist author of this article who came up with the title: New York has implemented one of the best if not the best cannabis legalization laws. Therefore, that’s not what the term “Reefer Madness” is all about nor should that term be used in the title of the article. On the other hand, a perfect example of true “Reefer Madness” (the way the term is supposed to be used) is your prohibitionist, yellow journalism, fear mongering article and the slew of silly, desperate fear mongering prohibitionists desperately pushing their “Reefer Madness” like anti-cannabis commentary on this message board hoping to sway public opinion.

    The title displays for Americans nationwide the type of sheer ignorance and stupidity obviously desperate prohibitionists will sink to with their not-so-hidden agenda in order to frighten the public away from legalization with it’s intentionally deceiving false use of the term “Reefer Madness” (which is what they are full of…)

    1. Do you honestly feel justified in endlessly wasting billions upon billions of our yearly federal tax dollars continuing to arrest, criminalize, incarcerate, and hand out life long permanent criminal records to otherwise hard-working, tax-paying, adult citizens for choosing to consume marijuana although it is far safer than perfectly legal, widely accepted alcohol? If so , [;ease explain to the public here exactly why you feel that way in full detail and remember to back up any negative claims made about cannabis with only credible, impartial, unbiased sources of proof. Ok?
      Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.
      In the meantime, consider this:

      1. Brian, studies have proven that marijuana is associated with psychotic breaks, other severe mental illness, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, addiction, and its smoke contains similar toxins and carcinogens as cigarette smoke.

        It is disproven that pot is safer than alcohol. Drinking a glass of wine doesn’t give you a psychotic break, or send you to the ER for vomiting which can last for weeks.

        While there are certainly good points to be made about the folly of Prohibitionism, it’s also true that alcohol had a far wider social acceptance and lower risk than pot. Though, it’s true, that alcoholism and drunk driving can be negative consequences.

        Cities that have legalized pot are also seeing marked increases in ER visits, opiod abuse, and psychiatric illnesses. It is now estimated that roughly 1 in every 10 new cases of psychiatric disorders are associated with the use of strong cannabis. This is a problem. The association with psychotic breaks was actually well known hundreds of years ago.

        When people make their arguments in favor of legalizing cannabis, they do need to take these downsides into account.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4033190/

        https://www.bbc.com/news/health-47609849

  11. Turely is assuming too much here. In fact he’s more likely to be overestimating the problem.

    NY is certainly on the right track regarding this process of seeking people who were formerly convicted. Turley neglects the fact that many of these former people who were formerly convicted of marijuana offenses were entrepreneurs first, savvy entrepreneurs and that was the key to their success despite the fact that when they were doing business it was illegal.

    The taxes and regulations are not going to incentivize the black market. It will weaken it. The profit to be made legally now makes dealing with the new regulations and taxation little more than just doing business. Eventually when the market matures regulations can be tweaked and changed as needed.

    If you want to create this market as quickly as possible why not encourage those who were in the prior “market” with the experience. It’s just a natural step so to speak.

    Turley is just making hay and sowing doubt because it is a ‘progressive’ scheme. He’s basically giving his rabid MAGA nutties something to chew on before the Jan 6 committee begins tomorrow. I wonder if he’s got a Hunter Biden column ready to go just in case the news from the committee is not favorable.

    1. That Hunter Biden is already done and printed. And when the hearings start, he’s sure to break open one he has been holding back.

    2. This “rabid, MAGA nutty” developed a 30,000 sf indoor grow facility for medical cannabis in Middleboro, MA. Staffed by retired FBI, DEA and MA State Police. Once again those of low character are trying to legislate their way out of their personal issues. You’re really gonna take life lessons from the Cuomo’s? Those entrepreneurial undocumented pharmacists are doing what they always did: gaming the system. That’s how they became “justice involved”(LOL) in the first place. Last one out of NY state, turn out the lights!

  12. Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

    Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

    1. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

      Plain and simple!

      Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    2. Margot,
      Race to the bottom.
      Give it time, NY will pass statewide no-cash bail or some other form of soft on crime in the name of equality like NYC did. Then watch the crime rate climb. Just like NYC.

    1. No exceptions? The situation in CO with youth pot addicts is depressing. Some kids will “graduate” to pot laced with fentanyl. Some will show up with psychiatric crises.

      The way to fix alcohol and pot addictions is to bring dosage culture along, so that the defiant “more is always better” attitude is stripped away from these drugs. Dose recommendations are the least we can ask for. It puts a check on systematic strengthening of THC, the same way alcohol is % regulated.

      Recreational drug use ceases to be recreational at some dose levels…it become reckless.

      But, government’s role should be limited to safe dosage recommendations. Trust people to use that info.

      1. Oh please, spare us the true “Reefer Madness” prohibitionist rhetoric. No street dealer is going to spend extra money to lace their cannabis with fentanyl and certainly that’s not happening in regulated, licensed dispensaries either. Btw: Teen use is down or remained the same in every single state that legalized cannabis. Stop the obvious lies and scare tactics. Nobody believes them nor is buying them these days. The American public mocks and reticules your lunatic-fringe-minority anti-cannabis prohibitionist views. Prohibitionists are the laughing stocks of the entire nation.

        What we certainly don’t need are anymore people who feel justified in appointing themselves to be self-deputized morality police.

        We are very capable of choosing for ourselves if we want to consume cannabis, a far less dangerous choice over alcohol, and we definitely don’t need anyone dictating how we should live our own lives.

        We can’t just lock up everyone who does things prohibitionists don’t personally approve of.

        Regarding “The Children”,

        Let’s not use “The Children” as an excuse to prohibit and criminalize adult use of a natural plant far less dangerous than perfectly legal alcohol because nobody condones child use, and this is about allowing adults only to choose cannabis.

        It’s our responsibility as parents by to educate our children on drug use. It’s not the government’s job to force Draconian cannabis Laws upon every adult citizen under the guise of protecting “The Children”.

        What message are we sending our children when it is easier for them to obtain cannabis now with it being illegal than it is for them to buy alcohol?

        It doesn’t take the intellect of a genius to understand that stores card kids for I.D. Thugs and gang members do not. They also push the real hard drugs on children. Stores do not.

        Cannabis legalization will make it harder for children to obtain it.

        What message does it send our children when several of the Presidents of The United States themselves alongside a long list of successful people openly admit regular pot use at one time or another in their lives?

        While we tell our kids how it will ruin their futures, and then ensure so, by allowing our government to to jail our children and give them permanent criminal records when they get caught with a little cannabis. Especially, if they are the wrong skin color or from the “wrong neighborhood”. Which in turn, ruins their chances of employment for life.

        The Prohibition of cannabis is the wrong message to send our children while we glorify, advertise and promote the much more dangerous use of alcohol like it’s an all American pastime.

        The worst thing about cannabis and our children is what happens to them when they get caught up in the criminal justice system due to it’s prohibition.

        Protect “The Children” and Our Neighborhoods Through The Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis Nationwide!

        1. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much. What’s next, allowing felons who hold up liquor stores to get preference for liquor licenses? Preference to pedophiles to run kindergartens? If the stoners conflating regulation with prohibition gain power like the lunatics running NY State, it truly WILL be California East.

  13. Well we already knew that there were absolutely absurd progressively thinking individuals in New York trying to drive it over the edge of reality but this plan is so in-your-face absurd that it’s also in-your-face signature significant proving beyond a shadow of doubt that the irrational tentacles of hive-minded progressive thinking and behaviors have reached into all levels of society and leadership in New York. What a sad, sad state of affairs.

    1. Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

      1. Brian Kelly wrote, “Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?”

        Okay, well no Brian it’s NOT okay.

        I’m not a Cannabis prohibitionist but I can see how you could twist my comment into that. Let me be really clear about my opinion.

        My opposition is to the legislation stating that under the new New York regulations governing Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary licenses “New York is seeking “justice involved individuals” to apply to become licensees. A justice-involved individual is anyone who was “convicted of a marihuana-related offense” for anything from a small amount of pot to a major drug operation.” This is the ABSURD progressive thinking that I’m condemning. Furthermore; I don’t give a damn if these “convicted of a marihuana-related offense” individuals apply for the licenses but for the State to state that they are actively seeking (thus promoting) these criminals for these licenses over individuals without marijuana drug related criminal records is over the top ABSURDITY! It’s open and blatant discrimination against law abiding citizens that would like to get a license.

        As for the personal usage of drugs…

        Personally, I just don’t give a damn what kind of mind altering drugs stupid people choose to put in their bodies as adults, it’s their bodies, their choices, and their consequences. I also disagree with state funding of rehabilitation of drug addicts, it their choices their consequences, let them pay for it all themselves with absolutely no tax funded subsidies. If they want to be a drug addict passed out in the streets and homeless and starving, more power to them but the government better stop demanding the use of my tax dollars to fund anything related to the consequences of the choices made by drug addicts.

        This is not society’s problem, this is individuals personal problems.

        Also; no one should whine to me about these poor drug addicts having a “disease”, that’s just BS, these people made their own choices and it screwed up their minds, sobeit, they’ll get no sympathy from me.

        Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    2. Anonymous wrote, “Word salad, bud. No pun intended.”

      The concept of word salad must be rather new to you.

      Word Salad: a confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases.

      Regardless of whether you understand the sentence or not, by definition it’s not a word salad; however, by definition it definitely is a run on sentence.

      Run-On Sentence: Run-on sentences, also known as fused sentences, occur when two or more complete sentences are squashed together without using a coordinating conjunction or proper punctuation, such as a period or a semicolon.

      Correct your rhetoric in the future.

  14. Who will be selling cannabis never was the primary reason for legalization. The main reason fpr cannabis legalization has always been to end all criminalization, incarceration, prosecution, persecution and punishment of cannabis consumers. Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

    1. Brian, how are going to protect people in industry and the roads? Alcohol is out of the human body rapidly as opposed to THC. If you work a production floor, any accident gets all involved a mandatory drug test. A Commercial Drivers License, CDL, means you are in a mandatory pool for random drug testing. Do your own thing, not my circus, not my monkey. But I am affected. There are several social gathering I can’t attend, because the pot smoke is very thick. I can’t risk my CDL by waking in the next moring and having the boss send me off for a random drug test.

      1. Legalizing Cannabis will not create a massive influx of marijuana impaired drivers on our roads.

        It will not create an influx of professionals (doctors, pilots, bus drivers, etc..) under the influence on the job either.

        This is a prohibitionist propaganda scare tactic.

        Truth: Responsible drivers don’t drive while impaired on any substance period!

        Irresponsible drivers are already on our roads, and they will drive while impaired regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

        Therefore, legalizing cannabis will have little impact on the amount of marijuana impaired drivers on our roads.

        The same thing applies to people being under the influence of cannabis on the job.

        Responsible people do not go to work impaired, period. Regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

        1. Irresponsible drivers are already on our roads, and they will drive while impaired regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

          You missed an honest question. How do you measure impaired? Alcohol is .08. After heavy drinking and 6 hours of sleep, the BAC is zero or close to it. Not so with THC

          1. Gee. Well, let’s look at your question logically and rationally. First of all, how have we been determining impairment before cannabis legalization?

            Every single police officer is highly trained and qualified to perform a roadside field sobriety test. This is a tool that law enforcement has been successfully using to prosecute all sorts of impaired driving for decades.

            Because, law enforcement already has tons and literally almost a century worth of experience dealing with and successfully prosecuting drivers for not only cannabis impairment but impairment on all sorts of other far more deadly and dangerous drugs which we do not have a test similar to a BAC test for.

            During the entire time of nearly a century of prohibition, law enforcement has had all the tools they ever have needed to successfully prosecute impaired drivers on a myriad of drugs that we do not have a test similar to a BAC test for. Imagine that? So why all the silly fear mongering over this prohibitionists created fake “issue” now?

            Remember that legalization does not cause any massive increase in cannabis consumers nor cannabis impaired drivers on our roads nor in our workplaces. For the most part the very same people who have always consumed cannabis during it’s prohibition are the very same people who will consume cannabis when legal. Those who always remained personally opposed to cannabis consumption while continue to obtain.

            Does that logically and rationally answer your fear mongering based question?

      2. Infinitely more workers end up impaired at work, calling out of work or in a stupor because of alcohol than marijuana.

        Why doesn’t alcohol concern you much more than relatively benign marijuana? It should.

        Legalizing Marijuana will not create a massive influx of marijuana impaired employees in our workplaces.

        It will not create a huge influx of professionals (doctors, pilots, bus drivers, etc..) under the influence on the job either.

        This is a prohibitionist propaganda scare tactic.

        Truth: Responsible workers don’t go to work while impaired on any substance period!

        Irresponsible employees already share our workplaces, and they will work while impaired regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

        Therefore, legalizing marijuana will have little to zero impact on the amount of marijuana impaired employees in our workplaces.

        Responsible people do not go to work impaired, period. Regardless of their drug of choice’s legality.

        Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, booze.

        Equal rights and protections as alcohol drinkers in our workplaces and everywhere else.

        Plain and simple!

        Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

      3. Contrary to what prohibitionists are so desperately trying to get the public to believe wholeheartedly and without question, legalizing cannabis IS NOT adding anything new into our society that wasn’t always there and widely available already.

        Therefore cannabis legalization does not lead to some massive influx of new cannabis consumers. The very same people who have been consuming cannabis during it’s prohibition are for the most part the very same ones who will be consuming cannabis when it’s legal.

        The prohibition of cannabis has never prevented cannabis’s widespread availability nor anyone from consuming cannabis that truly desires to do so.

        Cannabis has been ingrained within our society since the days of our founding fathers and part of human culture since biblical times, for thousands of years.

        So, since cannabis has always been with us and humans already have thousands upon thousands of years worth of experience with cannabis, what great calamities and “Doomsday Scenarios” do prohibitionists really think will happen now due to current legalization efforts that have never ever happened before in all human history?

        Legalize Nationwide!

  15. Alright, we know, we know…the inmates are running the asylum. Now, are there enough sane people left in my state to vote these criminals out of office? Not if you allow the NYC dirty politics to continue at the poles.

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