Reefer Madness: Demand for Illegal Pot Soars in California Due to High Taxes

It appears that illegal pot growers are giving thanks this holiday for California lawmakers who legalized pot only to fuel demand for illegal cannabis due to massive taxes. It is the same problem that I wrote about in New York’s program in an earlier Wall Street Journal column. Politicians continue to pile on taxes as if they have no impact on pricing and demand. It just seems like free money if you ignore every economic metric and principle.  Even with a recent recognition that they have killed their own market, California lawmakers are being criticized for offering too little too late in terms of tax relief.

Sgt. James Roy of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is quoted in Fox News as saying that “The illegal industry is competing with the legal industry and essentially putting them out of business.”

Why? As with bathtub gin after Prohibition, few people would prefer bootlegged products rather than the safer lawful alternatives. The only reason is economics — and the refusal of the California lawmakers to recognize basic rules of supply and demand. Not only is pot cheaper due to the massive taxes imposed on lawful businesses, but it is also being sent to the East Coast where similar price differentials are also fueling the illegal trade.

Despite being a relatively new industry, state and city officials imposed thick layers of regulations, charges, and taxes on the budding businesses. Some estimates put the taxes at 70 percent of current costs.

Even with a recent recognition that lawmakers strangled the industry, a temporary tax cut is not expected to be enough to make lawful businesses competitive. There remain a host of other taxes, required regulatory obligations, and even bars on claiming certain expenses used by other businesses. The result, according to one study, is that “the effective tax rate on marijuana in California ranges from $42 to $92 per ounce, depending on the jurisdiction, compared to an estimated wholesale production cost of $35 per ounce.”

So you have a high demand product that has been strangled out of the legal market by politicians who cannot resist adding their own taxes and demands on these nascent businesses. The result is a bonanza for illegal cannabis growers. The alternative was to show a modicum of restraint and allow this industry and market to stabilize and grow. It would then might produce greater revenue even with lower taxes. That, however, requires the one thing that is seemingly beyond our current political environment: restraint.

112 thoughts on “Reefer Madness: Demand for Illegal Pot Soars in California Due to High Taxes”

  1. Jonathan: I agree. There seems to be an overabundance by politicians to tax the hell out of the budding legal marijuana business. And I agree “restraint” is needed before we throw the baby out with the bath wash.

    Now when it comes to “restraint” you won’t find it anywhere else in the current political environment. Case in point. The anti-LGBTQ firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene has called Calif. State Senator Scott Wiener a “communist groomer”. The controversy started on Sunday when Wiener tweeted that “groomer” is an “anti-LGBTQ hate word”. MTG used Wiener’s tweet to promote her bill “Protect Children’s Innocent Act” designed to “stop Communist groomers like this from using state government power to take children away from their parents…”. It is clear MTG sees herself as the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy and is blending red-baiting and gay-baiting. If McCarthey puts MTG on any committee in the new Congress “restraint” will be in short supply.

    And Trump was in the news this week again showing what he thinks of “restraint”. In the midterms in Arizona Kari Lake, who Trump backed, lost her bid for governor. Trump’s response? More conspiracy theories of “Voter fraud. DO THE ELECTION OVER, or declare Kari, Blake Masters, Abe [Hamadeh] the winners. Act Fast!!!!”.

    Trump’s lack of “restraint” is not confined to our elections. For 4 years as president Trump supported President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. They were joined at the hip in terms of their politics. Hard right. Unfortunately, that did not help Bolsonaro in the recent presidential election. He lost to former president Luiz Inancio Lula da Silva in a close race. Bolsanaro initially conceded until something happened. Bolsanaro’s son, Eduardo, flew to Mar-a-Lago and met with Trump, Steve Bannon and Jason Miller. They agreed Bolsanao should not concede. On Wednesday Bannon declared: “What’s happening in Brazil is a world event. The people are saying they’ve been grossly disenfranchised”. Sound familiar? Bannon/Trump want to contest any election, anywhere, that does not bring to power an authoritarian leader. So Bolsonaro’s party organized demonstration and blockades. Bolsoanaro even appealed to the country’s electoral court to overturn the election based on false claims of rigged voting machines. That did not go over well. The court rejected Bolsanaro’s claims and even fined Bolsanao the equivalent of $4.3 million for what the court described as “bad faith litigation”. Too bad our courts didn’t have the same authority after Trump filed his 60 “bad faith” lawsuits after the 2020 election! It appears Brazil’s courts know a bit more about protecting democratic institutions than we do!

    1. As far as I know, Trump has not made any comment about the Brazil Presidential election, nor any other foreign election. Conflating Bannon with Trump is like conflating Dennis McIntyre with Maxine Waters.

    2. Interesting, only one question, what does anything of this have to do with the article? Did you even read it?

      1. Edwardmahl/George 1111: The subject was the taxing of pot production in California. Prof. Turley chose the subject and tried to make the case that liberal politicians in California are shooting themselves in the foot in overtaxing pot cultivation and legalized sale. They lack “restraint”, to use Turley’s word. Now I chose to expand the subject of “restraint” to other topics. It seemed a natural segue. Brilliance on my part don’t you think? That’s my privilege on this blog. To borrow a phrase from “Startrek” describing the mission of the Starship Enterprise…I “go where no man has gone before”.

        As to the Brazilian election Trump, thus far, has made no public comment. Steve Bannon, one of Trump’s chief consiglieres, did that on Wednesday. Do you really think he would do that without Trump’s approval? And for sake of argument if it was Bannon who invited Bolsanaro’s son to Mar-a-Lago do you think he did that on his own? Without Trump’s approval?. Nothing goes on inside Mar-a-Lago without Trump’s approval.! That’s a fact jack! You are living in another universe if you think Trump doesn’t have his hands all over Bolsnaro’s decision not to concede the election. They say that wounds untreated will never heal. You guys need treatment for the “wounds” you suffered in the 2020 election. Get over it before gangrene sets in. I know a good psychiatrist.

        1. DM – your comment shows that leftists feel free in making any statement regarding Trump. It does not need to be true. It need only align with paranoid delusions. Trump and Putin! Trump and Bolsoanaro! Trump and invaders from Mars! Yes, feel it!!

          1. I find it interesting that the foundation of this claim is that a very famous and successful racist black man, brought his white supremecist fried to have dinner with Trump.

            Obviously that COULD be true – but does it sound likely ?

            I would note that the Hunter Laptop is exposing direct ties between Joe Biden and Putin, as well as Putin aparatich.

            I do not know much about Bolsanaro – except that Brazil did not collapse into authoritarian tyrany under him.

            South America has a long history of swinging between left wing nuts and military juntas – not all right wing.

            While those Military Junta’s have been problematic – the disasters in south america have been when the LEFT has been in power – not the right, not anyone else.

            The worst “right wing” rulers do not hold a candle to those of the left in terms of death and destruction.

  2. Substance ingestion is a fully constitutional, natural and God-given right and freedom.

    Substance ingestion is not prohibited by the Constitution.

    Abortion was finally “discovered” not to be a constitutional right after 50 years of an illegal and corrupt decision by the corrupt Supreme Court of 1973.

    The Supreme Court of 2022 finally decided it was required to implement the U.S. Constitution; how brilliant and noble that act was, right – they actually had to do their job per fundamental law.

    Freedom denying communists conjured unconstitutional laws denying the constitutional freedom of substance ingestion, along with the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act. the Income Tax, the IRS, etc., central planning, control of the means of production, redistribution and social engineering in 1913, 125 years after those constitutional freedoms were established.

    Laws against property damage and bodily injury are constitutional and superior, and perpetrators are fully responsible for the crimes they commit for whatever reasons.

    “Crazy Abe” Lincoln was the progenitor, Karl Marx’s “…earnest of the epoch…” leading American toward “…the RECONSTRUCTION of a social world,” then immediately followed Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Carter, Obama and Biden, communists one and all.

    1. George, I am glad you deleted the Abe Lincoln quote from your list. It demonstrated the opposite of what we both don’t like.

      I am sure we can find statements that coincide with Marx made by almost any politician, but that doesn’t mean they promote Marxism.

      I am curious, and wish to learn, I understand your feelings about secession, and do not consider them frivolous, but I would like to know more about why you think Lincoln was pushing an early form of Marxism like the others you mentioned.

      1. “It’s the [law], stupid!”

        – James Carville

        I am concerned with law. Research the law and get back to me. “Crazy Abe” broke the law egregiously. I could care less about slavery or the CSA. Secession was constitutional. Slavery was an economic issue which must have been resolved using economic means – advocacy, boycotts, divestiture, etc. Slavery was viable because cotton was sold globally – the consumers were to blame, aside from the African chiefs who sold their countrymen for profit to Arabs who traded in slavery. Immigration law, the Naturalization Act of 1802, must have been enforced including compassionate repatriation of a foreign, 3-million person, standing army left on American soil by “Crazy Abe” – we’ve been in a cold war with that army for 169 years. Lincoln and every American must obey all laws, not only the ones they like, while disobeying the ones they don’t. Justice Taney tried to correct Lincoln through the one and only exercise of Judicial Review in American history. It’s the law, stupid!

        1. “Secession was constitutional”

          George, the Articles of Confederation took 13 eggs and placed them in the refrigerator egg tray. The Constitution took 13 eggs and blended them together.

          They are no longer two, but one large egg. What has been mixed, let no man separate.

      2. While George disagrees with the decision, the Supreme Court in Texas v White (1869) held that States do not have a right to secede. In addition, I note there is no provision in the Constitution that sets forth a secession right or process.

        1. Same idiocy over and over. The Supreme Court of 1973 said abortion was constitutional. It wasn’t. You have not cited the Constitution – which does not prohibit secession. Secession is and was fully constitutional. It’s what the ——- Founders did vis a vis Great Britain.

          1. ” It’s what the ——- Founders did vis a vis Great Britain.”

            The founders did not secede from Britain. They revolted.

  3. We should not be surprised. We have been told that California is first in everything. First in high taxes on weed, first in high taxes on gasoline, first in brownouts, and first in the high cost of housing. The list could be much longer but time prohibits the listing of all the California firsts. The California people just keep saying “beat me harder master and the masters happily oblige.

  4. There were a certain set of physicians who constantly fought for the legalization of marijuana over the decades and continually reassured the rest of us non-smokers to ignore our lying eyes as we saw the damage that marijuana and it’s follow on drugs brought to our patients. “It’s just alcohol but smoked” as if alcohol and smoking were benign acts in themselves. Most of these activists smoked the marijuana long before getting into medicine and brought their biases with them and I simply never believed the studies they produced about how benign it was. Then the various governmental entities got involved and I just despaired at the stupidity and wastefulness and devastation this all left in its wake.
    In the 1960’s and 1970’s an arrest for marijuana use was a total block to getting into medical school. Too bad it’s still not that way. Study after study told us that marijuana did not lead to other drugs but patient after patient would say, when asked, “oh I started smoking joints when I was ….”. Hmm.
    As previously stated by many it should have been obvious that “sin taxes” or any other use taxes when raised too high spawns an illicit market. All they had to do was look at the South and other parts of the country where there was a huge moonshine industry to escape taxes. That spawned medical disasters with methanol poisoning and lead intoxication.
    Sheer stupidity at multiple levels then and now.

  5. What does it say about our political class, esp in Democratic-run states and cities, that it encourages harmful behavior in order to raise money or to serve silly ideological fashions? The dangers of Marijauna use, esp. in youth, is clear. “Studies have long shown that getting high can harm cognitive function. Now, a new review of research, published Thursday in the journal Addiction, finds that impact may last well beyond the initial high, especially for adolescents.” cnn. com/ 2022/01/20/health/marijuana-brain-cognition-wellness/index.html But consider also: CAFE standards (2000+ extra deaths per year); lotteries (encouraging the poor to waste their money); “vaccine madates” (causing loss of employment); closing small businesses during COVID; closing public schools during COVID (harming child development); enouraging genital mutilation of children; outlawing gasoline-driven cars (extra cost and inconvenience); loosening enforcement of criminal laws; opening the southern border (encouraging influx of drugs); and inflation. It is almost like the elites are trying to destroy the rest of us.

  6. Beyond the black markets fueled by high taxes is the indifference of government leaders to the threat legalization poses to public health. We are seeing greater levels of consumption, increasing emergency room visits, and the turning of a blind eye to driving under the influence in the absence of a roadside test measuring THC in bloodstream.

    1. So what is it you want to do ? Return to Al Capone and prohibition ?

      There is not a perfect answer.

        1. No, the most efficient market is the unregulated untaxed free market.
          The blackmarket only exists when the costs of being a criminal are outweighed by the profits in a truly free market.

          If you do not want black markets – reduce taxes and regulations on whatever is on the black market and that market will shrink.

          Because the black market is NOT efficient, it is just more efficient than a regulated and taxed market.

  7. The actual history of the 1936 film Reefer Madness is more interesting than its folklore record. Hollywood was out of control in the late 1920s and early 1930s as the “silent” era was over and films became a robust industry in Hollywood. Many “stars” had big fan clubs and PR firms that kept in touch with an adoring public that was led to believe each star was an example of integrity, wholesomeness, and much like the kid next door. It was of course a fantasy. Hollywood stars with few notable exceptions often were drunks, drug addicts, and hardly as clean or as nice as the fictitious characters they played on the big screen. Production companies employed on-set physicians to keep actors functional as they went about their work. Smalltime hoodlums that sold drugs often were on the payrolls of the gossip columnists who occasionally would publish “rumors” that so and so’s mysterious illness was something more than advertised. Fan clubs were asked to “pray” for recovery and, voila!, miraculous recoveries often occurred as the stars returned from their secret sanitariums. By the mid-1930s, studio big wigs like Darryl Zanuck and Otto Preminger and several others met to discuss the threat posed to Hollywood by the drug and alcohol use of their big stars. The newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a federal agency, was hinting at taking a close look at Hollywood that the Los Angeles police department largely ignored at the time. The result was a propaganda film called Reefer Madness that was made quickly, on small budget, and with a cameo appearance by the Commissioner of Narcotics, Harry J. Anslinger, that clearly overplayed the dangers of marijuana but was enough to get the feds off their case. Ironically, a movie protocol forbidding the portrayal of drugs in a positive way that was self-imposed by the industry in the 1940s was abandoned by Preminger in 1955 with the production of The Man with the Golden Arm, staring Frank Sinatra. In the meantime, the reprise of Reefer Madness by modern college kids has earned for Hollywood and its producer more than the original film ever envisioned.

    1. “You can count that day won, when this here Erf turns on its axis and imposes no new, additional taxes.”

  8. It is baffling why Americans insist on maintaining a trajectory that leads to self-destruction. Have we become so full of ourselves that we think we are gods or perhaps that life is all about self-stimulation and self-gratification? From 1970s pot to cocaine, crack, crystal meth, fentanyl and the opiate market, sex hookup apps, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and many other addictions, we are accelerating towards a place where angels dare not go. The lie that pot is a benign thing is consistent with the many other lies we tell ourselves as Americans. Self-restraint is seldom practiced anymore and not just in politics.

    The measure of a valid medical research study is the number of times it has been cited. Generally, any medical study that has been cited over 100 times in a short period of time (5 years) is significant. The following study has been cited over 230 times in 6 years. One scientific research study does not an argument make. However if it has been cited hundreds of times, take note.

    Americans have chosen a path of self-annihilation. Self-restraint is key, a message I have stated on here dozens of times.

    Effects of Cannabis Use on Human Behavior, Including Cognition, Motivation, and Psychosis: A Review

    There is both preclinical and clinical evidence supporting the view that cannabis use is associated with an amotivational state. …Because these findings appear to be related to repeated doses of THC, it is likely that reduced motivation is one pathway to impaired learning, as THC can disrupt reward-based learning. In support of this theory, cannabis users exhibit reduced striatal dopamine synthesis capacity, with an inverse relationship to amotivation

    Volkow ND, et al. (2016) Effects of Cannabis Use on Human Behavior, Including Cognition, Motivation, and Psychosis: A Review. JAMA Psychiatry. 73(3):292-7. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.3278. PMID: 26842658.

    1. Research by reputable scietists has shown that of the 62 birth defects tracked by the U.S. Government, cannabis use is linked to 42 (two-thirds), including high rates of autism in states that have “legalized” cannabis for medical and/or recreational use. In Europe where 95 birth defects are tracked, cannabis use has been linked to 89 defects (94%). Cannabis use by parents (male and female) has been directly associated with a 50 percent rise in childhood cancers, especially acute lymphoid leukaemia. In adults, cannabis use has been linked to a doubling of testicular cancers in the U.S. as well as to breast cancer, cancer of the throat, lymph glands, liver, thyroid, etc. Even JAMA has come around to publishing this research that no longer can be suppressed or ignored. Big Pot, like Big Tobacco, is spending a fortune to counter these well-documented medical claims but it is a short-run strategy as the data are simply too voluminous and too compelling to refute the obvious findings much longer.

    2. And so what is it we do ?

      prohibition does not work. Whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, Opium, pot, or sugary drinks.

      Taxation is just slightly less bad than prohibition.

      What is it you want to do ? Double down on the War on Drugs – how well has that worked ?

      I would suggest accepting there is no perfect answer.
      When you understand that government can not succeed at preventing people from making bad choices for themselves without doing more harm to all of us, they answers are easy – if sometimes painful.

      We can not acheive perfection, but the least harm is from the least government.

      1. What we do is educate ourselves and teah our children the dangers of drug use. As RR said, the government is NOT the solution, the government is the problem!. Maintain the survival of the fittest but we can be fit onoly if we are smart enough to see and avoid the dangers present and threatening us.

        1. Thank You.

          One of the most fundimental problems with the left, and sometimes the right,
          is the failure to realize that some problems are not solvable. Certainly not by government.

          Spending a Trillion dollars to solve and unsolvable problem, changes nothing and makes us all poorer.

          We need to spend FAR more time teaching our children the dangers of the real world – like drugs.
          And less telling them they can pick their own pronouns and gender and anything goes.

        2. What we do is educate ourselves and teah our children the dangers of drug use. …Maintain the survival of the fittest but we can be fit onoly if we are smart enough to see and avoid the dangers present and threatening us.

          My earlier comment was bemoaning the fact that Americans have chosen self-annihilation, which is the fault of the parents. Americans like scapegoats and recently “conservatives” have vilified all things government run e.g. public schools, universities, etc. It’s all very disingenuous. Parents are the keepers of the souls of their offspring. A child raised in a proper home that is saturated Christian living, Jewish living, Muslim living, all with the goal of the forming of their conscience, regardless of the educational or economic level of the parents, can withstand anything.

          As for government intrusion, again another disingenuous argument. The Federal Budget spends the majority of expenditures on sanctioned socialism in America aka Entitlement Programs. If “conservatives” truly rejected socialism, they’d reject all of those entitlements in the US Federal Budget. To wit:

          The Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that Social Security’s Trust Fund will be depleted by 2033. Social Security revenue from payroll taxes and interest earned will cover only 76% of the benefits promised to retirees

          Survival of the fittest is my mindset. It is Christian principles that does not allow that to happen. As it is, socialism keeps people alive in America who would otherwise never be able to survive under evolutionary principles. How do we solve marihuana problem like every other problem in American today? allow people to fail. If you’re one of the few that have a large family, a close circle of friends, real relationships where folks help you and you help them, then you’ll do fine. Otherwise, those who insist on going at it alone…. they do not survive. So cut off funding with in the Federal Budget, and allow the Feds to do one thing and one thing alone: protect our borders from invasions and adversaries. otherwise, people have the choice to either engage life ala survival of the fittest or not survive. it’s pretty simple. Follow the science!

          Alas I’m a Christian, so there is that

        1. Perhaps.

          These may be among the best we can do. But though improvements, they are not answers.

          Just about every problem the left (and many problems the right) tries to solve through government – do not have solutions.
          and most of us know it – yet we vote those making false promises in anyway.

          As bad as each of us may be at running our own lives. There are very few who are so bad that government can do better.

    3. One doesn’t need a whole pile of clinical research to confirm the dangers of THC. Just look around to see how many motivated potheads there are – none.

      1. This is the sort of comment that could only be made by someone with zero real-world experience of weed users.

        See? Right there, I was motivated enough to comment on the foolishness of the conventional wisdom.

        Bonus point: Why is we’ve come to distrust most everything government and media tells us, but we cling to the cannabis myths propagated by these some sources?

  9. Makes me recall a video I saw several years ago of the always execrable Sheldon Whitehouse. He could hardly contain his glee about the thought of 536 people in a far-away capitol getting their grubby hands on an additional $1 TRILLION each year.

    In his telling, there were no tradeoffs. No downsides to confiscating $1 TRILLION. No mention about the regressive nature of the tax – that gasoline prices and transportation costs would rise and hurt the lower income among us the most. No concern about the inherent immorality of using government force to confiscate money others have earned.

    But the most telling thing about it was, at least in the video snippet I saw, he did not utter even one syllable pretending it would somehow “help” the environment. It was just about all of the “good” they could do from spending $1 TRILLION of other people’s money. (And by “good” what I think he meant is that they’d be able to concoct new programs to enrich Democrat clients, who would then be in a position to kick back part of their newfound riches to Democrat political campaigns to keep the grift going.)

    I was skeptical before that the risks from CO2 were being drastically overblown for political reasons. But that episode left me with no doubt its one giant racket.

  10. And no one saw this coming…right. So drinking alcohol is bad. Smoking tobacco is bad. But smoking marijuana good. What a wacky world we live in.

    1. All of this was perfectly foreseeable.

      But fundamentally it is only Libertarians who are not willfully blind.

      It does not matter whether it is pot, or anti-biotics, or prostitution or jelly donuts.

      ALL Government interferance in the economy is NET NEGATIVE.

      Some instances are worse than others.

      Entirely unregulated markets are not perfect – they are just less bad than regulated ones.

  11. In 1860, following two very vicious and deadly wars between Britain and China over the opium trade that China wanted to end, Britain secured as a condition of peace in the Convention of Peking an agreement that China would tax the imported British opium and use the money for the poor and those harmed by opium. The result was a disaster. The added tax drove the cost of opium so high that local entrepreneurs entered the business and produced their own. By 1898, The Times of London reported that an estimated 70 percent of Chinese adult males used opium. Queen Victoria formed a Royal Commission to look into this to stave off global criticism. The Commission reported back that the moderate use of opium in Asia was akin to the moderate use of gin in London. Does this sound familiar to folks in California?

  12. Ignored also is the fact that growing pot is not environmentally friendly. The process requires enormous quantities of water. Great idea for the water starved, severely drought-stricken Southwest.

    1. And the Mexican criminal cartels that produce so much of the “domestic” pot and do so in our National Parks use banned fertilizers and cancer-causing pesticides to maximize their crops, thus poisoning the ground for generations to come. They supply authorized and unauthorized vendors throughout California and elsewhere.

  13. We warned folks about that…..the government starts demanding their share of the loot….exactly like the Mafia used to with its protection rackets….and at some point people will start up a business that profits from the over-taxing……just like the Mafia did by getting into the cigarette smuggling from North Carolina to New York City…..moving Truckloads at a time for years.

    So long as government can extort a revenue stream it will be happy and let the illegal operators prosper.

    But watch what happens when it realizes how much money they are missing because of the illegal operations.

    Another good example….Gas Taxes in North Carolina are higher than in South Carolina…..such that we cross the Stateliness and buy cheaper gasoline and diesel fuel and go back across the line and burn that cheaper fuel.

    Except that is not legal versus illegal….but the effect is the same….South Carolina gas stations and the South Carolina government benefit at the expense of North Carolina’s tax scheme.

    1. Reminds me of the huge sign I recall seeing years ago near Chicago just before you enter Cook County from Lake County: “Buy Everything Now Before You face the Cook County Taxes”.

    2. “.the government starts demanding their share of the loot….exactly like the Mafia used to with its protection rackets….and at some point people will start up a business that profits from the over-taxing……just like the Mafia “

      Shortly, we will have another Eric Garner incident. Instead of being killed for selling illegal cigarettes, it will be for selling boot-legged marihuana.

  14. Milton Friedman said the true cost of government is the cost of all the taxes plus the cost of complying with all of the regulations. The illegal trade cuts both 100%. The legal trade provides the illegal trade cover in that the product itself has been legalized. It could not have worked out better for the illegal trade if they wrote the tax and regulations laws for themselves.
    Government greed would not allow simply legalizing the product and collecting the tax revenues.

  15. “The alternative was to show a modicum of restraint and allow this industry and market to stabilize and grow. It would then might produce greater revenue even with lower taxes.”

    To those who like government intervention: Look at what the government is doing. It is the cause of criminality and the increased use of pot.

    1. Again SM – I guess you need to see things fail, before you grasp that government interventions in the economy ALWAYS fail.

      This is no different that the killing of Eric Garner – taxes on cigarettes drove the sale of loose cigarettes because some people could not afford a pack of cigarettes. But the sale of loose cigarettes is illegal because you can not tell of the loose cigarettes were taxed or not.
      So Eric Garner gets arrested, resists and is killed.

      Make no law such that you are not prepared to kill someone who disobeys.

      Government is FORCE.

      Pot, Loose cigarettes – there is even a black market for anti-biotics and they are cheaper than at the pharmacy and readily available.

      Even efforts to decriminalize the sex trade have found there is only one thing that works – the elimination of ALL laws.
      When they try to “regulate” it – that just means that much illegal prostituion remains for those who can not manage to comply with regulations.
      And that illegal prosititution continues to suffer all the problems it had before.

      Get Government out of things that are none of its business.

      1. “Again SM – I guess you need to see things fail, before you grasp that government interventions in the economy ALWAYS fail.”

        John, read what I said again!

        “To those who like government intervention: Look at what the government is doing. IT IS THE CAUSE of criminality and the increased use of pot.”

        Does that sound like I want more government intervention?

        1. Yes, I read a number of posters who are responding to Turley’s post as if they had ALWAYS been libertarians.
          Yet you and I have debated this before – though not specifically POT.

          These results were foreseable – BTW California is not the only state with this problem – every state that has legalized, taxed and/or regulated Pot has this problem.

          ALL Regulation has unintended consequences – ALL taxes have unintended consequences.

          You can make things you do not like a crime – and get one set of bad results.
          Make them legal and regulate and tax them and get another.
          or let the market deal with them – and get another.

          Estovir is here correctly arguing the bad effects of Pot.
          Turley is noted that regulation and taxation did not really work.
          Getting govenrment completely out of it – is not so hot either. But it is the least bad results.

          It is ALWAYS the least bad result.
          Whether it is pot, loose cigarettes, anti-biotics, or jelly donuts.

          1. “Yes, I read a number of posters who are responding to Turley’s post as if they had ALWAYS been libertarians. Yet you and I have debated this before – though not specifically POT. ”

            John, the libertarian spectrum is broad, and you are not the only one who can call yourself a libertarian.
            However, as a single point on the spectrum, you can provide ideals that pertain to libertarian thoughts.

            The comment I made above places me in that libertarian spectrum, but my pragmatism makes me view policy matters differently. I look for ideas that push us in the right direction and vote for those candidates that have views closest to mine with the ability to enact them.

            I don’t forget the reality of the world in which we live. Some have difficulty adjusting to reality and try to mix libertarian ideas with reality, which is mixing spoiled milk with fresh milk, a bad result.

            Therefore, because we have a social safety net, I have to alter my stand on open immigration. The same goes for drugs, even though they all carry a degree of danger for the individual consuming them.

            In the present case, California failed in multiple ways. That is why I said: “To those who like government intervention: Look at what the government is doing. It is the cause of criminality and the increased use of pot.”

            1. SM – I am not interested in a debate over Labels.

              My POINT is that YOU an d many others here are suddenly arguing many of the same arguments I have made in the past, that you told me were too extreme.

              You may not have completely adopted my positions – but you are making significantly more libertarian arguments on this issue than you were.

              I would further note that What CA, CO, and most other states “legalizing Pot have done – is what YOU claimed you wanted.
              Or atleast what YOU claimed you wanted in areas other than Pot.

              A legal regulated and taxed market place.

              And NOW you are saying – that is not working – atleast regarding Pot.

              To be clear – there is not perfect solution – you keep saying I demand utopia – that is BS.

              Make all drugs legal and unregulated – except by NORMAL, criminal, contract and tort law,
              And we will have as many addicts as today. we will have as many overdoses as today.
              The alcohol problem was real before prohibition. It has been bad since the end of prohibition.

              Drugs are no different. Prositution is no different. Gambling is no different.

              You can not keep people from making bad choices with their own lives.
              You can keep from creating a world of crime around those problems.

              I would hope that despite those here ranting how dangerous marijuana is, that most of us grasp the war on Drugs has been lost.
              Drugs are bad – I have no answer to that. Doing the “right” thing, will not bring about utopia. But it will end alot of the crime and reduce violence.

              Doing the “compromise” thing gives us a bit of the worst of both worlds.

              We are talking drugs here – and today you are echoing on drugs the same free market little or no regulation arguments I made in the past.
              Maybe you are not going as far as I insist – but you are going farther than most of you would 10 years ago.
              AND we are seeing that compromise did not work.

              1. “SM – I am not interested in a debate over Labels.”

                If I were interested in labels, I would not say that libertarianism is a spectrum. I don’t find your philosophical arguments extreme. I find their implementation faulty when other things exist in a society that makes these actions inappropriate.

                Don’t put words in my mouth. I have not adopted your position. Whatever ones I might have, existed long before coming to this blog. Your arguments have helped refine positions, which is the point of debate. I wish you to continue doing so.

                Since you seem to say with certainty that my positions are more libertarian today than they were before, you certainly can tell me those positions I previously had. The big difference in what you are seeing today is you forget a portion of what I believe. Take immigration. We need immigration due to low fertility rates, but it needs to be legal and GOOD FOR THE NATION. That is not an open borders policy. What makes open immigration bad are the social safety nets and potential abuse using immigrants to meet the ends. When we had the first discussion on open immigration, you didn’t take into account social safety nets, and whether or not, at the time, you thought them a significant problem.

                Where pot is concerned, I believe people have a right to use whatever they want, but they don’t have a right to force me to support them. Our nation has changed. We no longer have to work to survive, a severe problem. That changes policy dynamics. For example, we see it today when fighting inflation. How does one fight inflation? One way is increasing production. I have read that we have an extremely high number of able-bodied men (18-65) that do not work and others that do not produce as much as they should. Maximizing production with an improved work product would go a long way to increase it and reduce inflation. An immigrant might act as a bandaid temporarily until they get the same affliction of laziness, and then we have more non-productive people and require more immigration. That is a Ponzi Scheme. We have to deal with the underlying problems, and number one centers on merit in the free market system.

                You might fight for the right things but battle for them at the wrong time. That is just as bad as fighting for the wrong things.

                1. “I find their implementation faulty when other things exist in a society that makes these actions inappropriate.”

                  That is the core of our conflict. You will do what you think is politically possible but will make things worse, at the expense of what has a chance of working. I would rather lose the political fight and have others choose to do things that will make things worse.

                  We learn many ways – one of the most important is through failure.

                  This election surprised me – Biden has been an unmitigated failure as a president. 80% of the country agrees.
                  Yet, we voted for more failure.

                  I do not understand why we have not had enough already. Obama was far less of a failure over 8 years than Biden over 2, and the 2016 election was a repudiation of the failure of Obama.

                  Regardless, we have not had enough failure yet. But for the fact that I and my family must live through it all, I would say “bring it on” let the learning commence.

                  I am disappointed that people are unable to learn from history, and therefore must relearn through experience.
                  But it is how it is.

                  Where we part ways is that I do not accept that compromise measures to prevent a larger failure are inherently good.
                  To be clear – all compromise is not bad. HOWEVER all compromise is not good. Compromise often thwarts learning.
                  And it makes both parties complicit in the lessor failure of compromise.

                  So that we are clear – the above is NOT a generalization. I do NOT hold as you very nearly do that Compromise is always or nearly always good. Nor do I hold that it is always or nearly always bad.

                  I am concerned about the future – because we have obviously not learned from Obama, or Bush or especially the past 2 years.
                  And that means that we will not learn without even more pain – and nature seems poised to assure that.

                  That is good – because the learning is necescary. And bad, because the entire planet will have to suffer.

                  1. .”That is the core of our conflict. You will do what you think is politically possible but will make things worse, at the expense of what has a chance of working.”

                    I don’t gamble. I take a chance when I consider the odds in my favor. Losing to Biden cannot be won back, and if you think it can, you are wrong. What is lost will not suddenly return. If it seems it did, it is due to a win smaller than it should have been. Bad gambles lead to poor returns unless you are lucky, but you win smaller returns than you would have.

                    “We learn many ways – one of the most important is through failure.”

                    True, but the nation isn’t a failure. It is a wild success. Playing losing odds leads to bankruptcy.

                    “failure as a president. 80% of the country agrees.
                    Yet, we voted for more failure.”

                    Yes, when gambling, one always has to quantify the risk. Sometimes cheating is involved.

                    “Obama was far less of a failure over 8 years than Biden over 2”

                    That is why the risk one takes for victory needs careful assessment. The fall we see is logarithmic, and we are in danger of losing the nation. You think things will suddenly rectify themself, but that is only in the movies. One doesn’t take unnecessary chances one can’t cover.

                    “Regardless, we have not had enough failure yet.”

                    That is the gambler’s ultimate failure. Smart ones know when to pack it in. The smartest don’t gamble unless the numbers are in their favor.

            2. In the specific instance of Marijauna – the pragmatic, compromise middle way has failed – or at best it is little better than the extreme drug war way. So long as legal drugs cost more than illegal drugs – and so long as government is involved that will be the case, you will still need the entire war on drugs army to go after the illegal drugs.

              One of the problems with taxes – is that someone must collect them.
              One of the problems with regulation si the someone must enforce them.

              1. John, I have long been against the ‘drug wars’, but probably not as completely as you. My reluctance to immediately end government involvement is due to existing circumstances beyond our present control. To make it clear, I would push for ending the requirement of a physician’s prescription to obtain most medications. You never mentioned this, so now you can be assured I have held this position for decades.

                1. Sometimes I presume specific positions of yours based on your prior expressions of principles and values.

                  I am glad to hear that with respect to drugs, your actual position is closer to freedom and free markets, and limited govenrment than the principles and values you frequently express.

                  The necescary regulation of free markets is criminal law, contracts and torts. When you sell something you are promising that it is safe and effective.
                  When you fail to do so, That may be a crime, probably violates your contract, and is definitely a tort.

                  There is no need for the CDC, the NIH, or the FDA – or myriads of other alphabet agencies. They serve no useful purpose that is not accomplished better by criminal, contract, and tort law.

                  But it is important that we understand Freedom is not utopia.

                  Assorted addictions are a common problem in all societies once certain minimal levels of wealth are reached.
                  In the US our addiction problems literally depend on the welfare state. Without it – some addicts would die, and others would have to work to stay alive and be unable to sustain their addiction. That is harsh – but is sustaining addicts in addiction until they either overdose or wipe out their brains not incredibly harsh ?

                  We also have a problem with drugs – because with very few exceptions addicts do not crave the drugs that are the most harmful to them.
                  They use Fentanyl, and similarly destructive drugs because the black market can more cost effectively deliver those than what they want.

                  It is my understanding that no one chooses fentanyl when heroin is available. And herion need not be expensive – but the supply chain is much easier to interdict.

                  So addicts take something they do not want, because the war on drugs has successfully blocked the less harmful drug they want more.

                  Regardless, there are lots of overlapping problems that we do not have answers to – drug addiction, mental health, homelessness.
                  Government Spending a trillion dollars – will not solve these problems, it will just waste a trillion dollars for nothing.

                  Sometimes some problems – these, and others can be resolved – or atleast improved – at great expense, with great skill in a few people.

                  Again something those on the left do not grasp.
                  If my child has some problem – I will move heaven and earth to try to make that better – even a little better. I may suceed, a little, or fail.
                  I may go bankrupt trying. If I have been successful in life I will have much greater ability to attempt to improve the lot of my child.

                  Life is not fair – that is just how it is. We can not provide for all what the well off can provide for themselves and their children.
                  And it likely will not work anyway.

                  But lets say it does. Lets say that with the absolute best professionals, addiction can be cured.
                  Who decides who gets the best possible care ? No amount of government money will convert ordinary professionals into the best.
                  And even if government manages to lure the best of the best from other fields – those those fields suffer.
                  0.13% of us have IQ’s over 145. 2% over 130, 15% over 115. There are only so many of the best people, and we need them in every single field.
                  At the same time 15% of people have IQ’s below 85 – these are people who are barely functional. Who take weeks to learn jobs the rest of us learn in an hour.

                  Our world must work with the resources we have – and that includes human resources.
                  As Julian Simon’s concludes in “The Ultimate Resource” – the only resource limit that humans can not easily work arround is the human mind.

                  1. “Sometimes I presume specific positions of yours based on your prior expressions of principles and values.”

                    That is because you miss the pragmatism I use to get to where I am going. In the first primary, I didn’t vote for Trump because I didn’t think he would be as good as another candidate (I was wrong. He was better). When he became the nominee, I could see that a Hillary win would move us backward. I voted for Trump instead of throwing my vote out. I wanted to move the nation in the right direction. Trump did a wonderful job, so I voted for him again because a Biden win would move us the wrong way. I wanted to move closer to my goal. Perfection is the enemy of good.

                    Perhaps you are too embroiled in your ideology that you don’t properly examine what others say. I learn a lot from you, but not what a libertarian was. I knew that long before.

                    1. Pragmatism is one of the values I presume you to hold strongly.

                      Though to be accurate – You call it pragmatism.
                      I would call it the inability to know when compromise is bad.

                    2. ” You call it pragmatism. I would call it the inability to know when compromise is bad.”

                      John, you feel that way because you have not learned the second half of Adam Smith’s thesis. The free market is based on a mutual agreement between different parties. All need to leave the table satisfied.

                    3. We are not discussing the free market. The compromises you make that I oppose are with government at the expense of the free market.

                      With specific respect to Smith – everyone need not leave the table satisified. Sometimes the resolution is just to leave.

                      One of the core requirements of a free market is the freedom to say no.
                      It is that freedom that assures that most of the time people walk away satisfied.

                    4. “We are not discussing the free market. The compromises you make that I oppose are with government at the expense of the free market.”

                      Perhaps you can tell me the compromises you are referring to. I didn’t make the compromises. The politicians did and I am critical of some of the compromises made even if I would have signed off on the compromise.

                      “With specific respect to Smith – everyone need not leave the table satisified. Sometimes the resolution is just to leave.”

                      No one gets everything they want. By nature, people want more, but in an agreement, one doesn’t sign if it isn’t better for them than no agreement.

                      “One of the core requirements of a free market is the freedom to say no.”

                      One is free to say no unless someone is holding a gun to your head. However, some expand the word freedom to meet other situations, such as a person dying of thirst in a desert and another offering a deal to sell him water. We have courts to adjudicate that type of free market agreement.

                  2. “0.13% of us have IQ’s over 145. 2% over 130, 15% over 115. “

                    A doctor doesn’t need the highest IQ. Those doctors with the highest IQs will benefit society more if they are in research, whether medical or not. Of course, doctors need to be smart, but they also need other skills, such as people skills. Much of that depends on what type of medicine they practice. They also need self-motivation to continue learning and memorizing. Unfortunately, sometimes the brightest are practicing dull medicine while the less intelligent are doing high-end research.

                    However, some of the job descriptions are self-correcting. The brightest doctors can teach other doctors to be better, and the most intelligent researchers will produce amazing things while other researchers will assist them.

                    1. With respect to “other skills” – all or nearly all “skills” distribute on the same bell curve.

                      Surgeons need incredible hands – that is not going to be found in 99% of the population.

                      Regardless, the point I am making is that even where we have solutions that work for specific problems.
                      We do not have the human resources to impliment them widely

                      I used this example before – the First efforts at “section 8” were done dcades ago at Cabrini Green.
                      They brought in the best social workers, and carreer counselors and housing experts and they cherry picked the most likely to succeed residents and they worked through the first implimentation of Section 8 – and it was wildly successful.

                      As a result of that one success in Chicago Congress funded a nationwide program that has been destroying the minority families that escaped powvertty in the cities -= throughout the country S8 is being made to operate with the resources available – not the best of the best.
                      Most anyone can enter S8, as a result drug dealers have been moved from urban housing projects to successful suburban minority neighborhoods. Families that moved out of the city to save their kids from drugs now find S8 is importing them into their neighborhood.

                      Even when we have solutions that work – the virtually never scale

                      One of the reasons why is that difficult problems require the best of the best – and we have very few of those,
                      And often they are already being used in more valuable positions.

                    2. You are way to optomistic about our ability to make people better.

                      And generally you are wrong.

                      A 140IQ doctor can make a 100IQ doctor a better doctor than a 110IQ doctor.

                      But nothing makes a 100IQ doctor equivalent to even a 110IQ doctor much less a 140IQ one.

                      Each of us has a range of potential within a given domain.
                      The quality of our education and experience will determine where in that range we fall.
                      But we will not break out of that range of potential.

                      It purportedly takes 10,000 hours of practice to take someone in the top 0.1% and make them a virtuoso.
                      But 10,000 hours of practice will not take someone from the top 10% to the top 0.1%.

                      There are skills I have that you do not, that no amount of effort on your part will ever enable you to match.
                      And the reverse is also completely true.

                      I would further note that even this ability to move those in the top 10% up a bit, still requires a limited supply of top 0.1% people to teach them.

                      How many average doctors can a virtuoso doctor turn into good doctors in a lifetime ?
                      Not all that many.

                      I am not knowing education and training – but it is fallacy to presume that we do not have a finite number of human resources in every field at ever skill level.

                      There are two ways that standard of living rises – replacing many low skilled people with a smaller number of slightly higher skilled people – typical of automation, or technical changes in the way a task is performed to allow lower skilled people to perform it.

                    3. “You are way to optomistic about our ability to make people better. And generally you are wrong.”

                      John, I have not the slightest idea what you are attempting to say. Where am I trying to make people better? I am stating reality.

                      A 110 IQ is likely not high enough for most accomplished physicians, but a 140 IQ is not a guarantee of success because a physician requires many desirable attributes. I will try to explain what I was saying.

                      For the most part, a physician need not be a genius. If we took all the high-IQ people and made them physicians, we would be starving research and other fields.

                      “How many average doctors can a virtuoso doctor turn into good doctors in a lifetime ?
                      Not all that many.”

                      You are looking at things narrowly. There are many ways a virtuoso doctor can influence other doctors. The interaction need not be face-to-face. I will not explain this further because it is too far off-topic.

                    4. No SM you are not stating reality.

                      IQ and most other skills and similar attributes distribute along a bell curve.

                      Practice, experience, effort all allow some small ability to outperform our natural abilities, as well as large ability to under perform.

                      Regardless, we do not have the ability to make teachers or social workers or police 10 times better – or even 20% better without negative impacts elsewhere.

                      That is why many many “solutions” that work at a small level – do not scale.
                      This is true privately, but it is especially true publicly where the desire to solve problems by throwing money at them and pretending that all the other resources – such as human resources will magically appear.

                      As an example the housing bubble bursting negatively impacted residential construction – resulting in widespread unemployment for those in that sector – but comericial construction – and even apartment construction continued.

                      In fact we STILL have elevated apartment prices and apartment construction from the housing crissis even today.

                      Shortly after taking office Obama passed the ARRA – part of that was massive highway spending purportedly to create jobs that people in housing could move to. Ignoring the fact that road construction today has very low labor demands and most of that is for skilled labor – not just equipment operators – but massive equipment operators, It was also necescary to design all this construction – these projects were NOT shovel ready. Highway projects require civil engineers. The ARRA sucked up nearly all the civil engineers int he country for several years.
                      While Civil engineers are essential to highway construction – they are required for nearly all other construction.
                      The shortage of civil engineers killed commercial construction putting even more people out of work, and raising rents even further.

                      The problem I am addressing is most severe with highly trained and licensed professionals that take years to significantly change.
                      But it exists throughout the labor market.

                      The Defund the police movement liked to claim that police could be replaced by social workers in many instances.
                      To some extent that is actually true. There have been many successful programs where social workers or counselors have been used to address policing problems that could be resolved outside of law, courts, and jails. But social workers and counsellors are a more limited resource than police officers. We CAN impliment trial programs with great success in a community in Boston. We can’t scale those city wide, state wide or nationwide. The human resources do not exist. Further if they did, they would have to come from elsewhere – such as teachers,

                      All of this AGAIN points to the superiority of free markets over top down solutions.
                      Nothing matches the ability of free markets to allocate scarce resources efficiently – and the most important of those resources is labor.

                      We NEVER EVER want politicians deciding we need more nurses, or doctors, or cable installers.
                      There is zero possibility they will get that right and 100% probability they will cause great harm.

                      If there is a real need for more nurses – the free market will properly balance that need against other needs for the same or similar skilled people.

                      The core to economics – the law of supply and demand, is incredibly simple to understand, but unbeleivably complex in operation.
                      This is true of most of the laws of economics.

                      This is also like physics – some of the fundimental laws are relatively simple – but they govern an incredibly complex world.

                    5. “Regardless, we do not have the ability to make teachers or social workers or police 10 times better – or even 20% better without negative impacts elsewhere.”

                      John, I didn’t make a comment even close to what you are saying. Why don’t you quote what I say before telling everyone what I didn’t say? It would make your error stand out, or you would cease misrepresenting what I say.

                      My discussion centers on the knowledge that the number of people with a high IQ is limited, so if someone tried to push all of them into one field, all the other fields would be devoid of high-IQ persons.

                      You have completely misread my comments.

                    6. My reply is an argument explaining one problem with your comment

                      I you say “let them eat cake” and I reply – “there are not enough bakers”
                      That is a valid counter argument.
                      I did not “restate” your argument, I rebutted it without repeating it.

                    7. “I did not “restate” your argument, I rebutted it without repeating it.”

                      John, it would be nice if I could tell which argument you rebutted. You had it wrong. If you wish, I will give you a retry where you can copy what I said and your answer. We can then agree, disagree or figure out that we were talking about two different things.

                      I don’t understand why you didn’t do that in this reply unless there was a screw-up on your part.

                    8. SM
                      I make my arguments as I wish.
                      I have said what I wanted.
                      You can agree or not.
                      I am not underested in a debate about how to debate.
                      I am sorry if you do not understand how my argument addresses yours.

                      There are many ways to make an argument.
                      The left posters here are usually completely wrong about basic facts.
                      Often point by point refutation of every small claim to their posts obliterates the entire edifice.

                      Other errors are less obvious.
                      I think we agree on the distribution of human intellect, attributes, skills.
                      I think we agree on the basic facts.
                      But you do not seem to grasp the extent to which we are dealing with something that is very close to zero sum.
                      I have gone into some of the details, but the key point is that in a developed country where there is not a significant portion of the top 10% of skilled people wastefully engaged in unskilled labor, we have very limited ability to grow the aggregate skill level. So every shift of skilled people necessarily reduces the availability of skilled people elsewhere.
                      I am not looking to argue about how some uses of highly skilled labor can be multipliers for lessor skilled labor.
                      That is true, but the net impact is small and it is still essentially a one time boost.

                      Skilled people are THE fundamentally limited resource.

                      Any “Plan” that requires a significant increase in skilled people in a domain necessarily means removing them elsewhere.

                      Whether a resource is zero sum or unlimited – bottom up free markets ALWAYS do a better job of efficiently allocating that resource.

                      And always forgotten – especially by those on the left is that when we say “efficiently allocated” – we are talking well beyond maximizing wealth.
                      Free markets are not just about money and economics. The free market is a dynamic summation of ALL the values of each individual, against their resources, and those of all others maximizing as perfectly as is possible the extent to which each of us gets what we want based on the value we produce.

                      This is not a perfect system. But it is one that can not be beat. It is also incredibly efficient – because there is little or no overhead to operating it.
                      There is no government, no ministry of resource allocation, the free market – something that is very real while being completely virtual at the same time, does for free.

                      It is very important not the be confused but economic, or mathematical words, into beleiving that we could from the outside better allocate for happiness, or ….

                      Free markets efficiently allocate for EVERYTHING – including happiness based on OUR dynamically shifting values.

                    9. “I make my arguments as I wish.”

                      Of course, you do, and you should. But, don’t misstate what I said or, if there is confusion, quote whatever you think created it. You made the statement, so you must have had something in mind.

                      “I am not underested in a debate about how to debate.”

                      No one told you how to debate. You said, “I did not “restate” your argument, I rebutted it without repeating it.”

                      By not repeating my statement or clarifying what you said, I have to assume that what you rebut is something created by you, not me. That is fine if one wants a debate where no one knows what the discussion is. I can only assume that you were wrong in what you restated. I know you are not bothered, but it doesn’t look good. If you are not concerned, so be it.

                      “I am sorry if you do not understand how my argument addresses yours.”

                      How can I address something when I don’t know what it is and you are keeping it secret? I can only ask, why the secrecy?

                      “I am not looking to argue about how some uses of highly skilled labor can be multipliers for lessor skilled labor.”

                      Nowhere did I say anything like that. My point was the opposite, and apparently, I confused you when I brought up the ability of some of the smartest who can help to advance others.

                      I will end with what I said before. John, it would be nice if I could tell which argument you rebutted.

                    10. I am not looking at things too narrowly.

                      There is very limited ability of a super doctor to elevate the abilities of many ordinary doctors.

                      Further whether we quibble over the details – it is still indisputable that there is far less headroom on a person’s performance, then their ability to underperform.

                      Even if a super doctor could double the performance of 100 regular doctors – you are still dealing with something limited rather than unlimited.

                      Atleast in theory there is no natural resource that is limited – atleast in relation to human wants and need – given sufficient wealth to secure it.
                      We can mine asteroids or other planets if needed – This might be unreasonable today, but the point is that natural resources have no real limit only practical ones.

                      Human minds and human skills are finite – and that is “the ultimate resource”

                    11. “There is very limited ability of a super doctor to elevate the abilities of many ordinary doctors.”

                      Doctors follow the lead of those doctors who are experts. When studies don’t exist, the ‘super-doctor’ might lead the way. These very special people teach doctors and write books and articles. Their information gets filtered to many others they never meet. You are looking at things in the wrong way.

                      In fact, this ability to transmit information is why censoring some of the most brilliant physicians and researchers dealing with Covid was dumb. Your use of vitamin D shows how much information is transferable if permitted. Do you think the use of vitamin D didn’t originate with some well-respected physician (s) or researcher(s)?

      2. I agree with your general point — high taxes ensure that law enforcement resources will continue to be wasted on cannabis interdiction, not because it’s illegal but because now the state is a biggest player.

        You mention but sort of gloss over the ultimate reason Eric Garner died — he resisted arrest. The best way to avoid not dying while resisting arrest is to not resist arrest.

        But it’s absolutely true that State of New York taxes provided the legal pretext for EG’s death.

        1. There was no basis to arrest Garner.
          Selling loose cigarettes is a summary offence.
          You write up a summons and leave.

          If the citation is not paid – THEN a warrant MIGHT be issued.

          Regardless, we do not use deadly force over the equivalent of a rolling stop.

          There are more problems with Garner’s death than Floyd’s – But Floyd was at the right moment.
          No one cared about the facts in the Floyd case.
          Floyd passed a counterfeit 20 and then ate his stash of drugs and probably his dealers.
          He was arrested for a serious fellony – not a summary offense which is no basis for arrest at all.

        2. Make no law that you are not willing to see people die over.

          Every law – no matter how minor, will result in the death of someone violating – it they steadfastly refuse to comply.

        3. The regulation and/or taxes of anything – including marijuana creates the incentive for a black market.
          The existance of a black market is a challenge to the power of the state and must be confronted by force.

          You will have the war on drugs at some level, if you tax and/or regulate marijuana – or anything else sufficiently

  16. We all had a good laugh at the Reefer Madness movie back in the early 60’s when it was still confined to the ghetto. None of us could have ever imagined it would be sold in stores. We were promised flying cars😄

  17. Interestingly, it is only California that is taxing the marijuana business. There is not one single IRS office in the entire “Emerald Triangle” (Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity Counties). The IRS is essentially ignoring this revenue source. I can only assume that it’s a lot easier to audit average wage earners than rural marijuana operations. The IRS is known to focus on easy targets, the middle and working classes, simply because they can pick-up revenue faster and easier than going after the rich and the operators of elusive and complex business, but the entire argument for marijuana legalization was that it would produce a stream of lucrative tax revenue for all levels of government. So we’re left with the ill effects (stoned drivers, employees and students), but have reaped none of the promised benefits, at least at the federal, inter-state commerce level.

    1. Stoned drivers?

      Weed has been illegal for a long time, so legalizing it is highly unlikely to result in a serious increase in the number of stoned drivers. The people who are driving stoned in legal jurisdictions are the same people who were driving stoned when it was illegal.

      More to the point: The problem isn’t stoned drivers. The problem, as with alcohol, is people who make irresponsible decisions. Legalizing weed does not increase their number.

      1. The evidence world wide is that legalization MIGHT increase numbers – but not by much.

        Regardless, there is zero doubt that legalizing drugs will have BAD effects. It will also have good ones.
        The bad will still be bad, but the net will be positive and better than we have now.

        But if we insist the world must be perfect, what will be destroyed are the blessings of freedom, perfection is not acheievable.

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