Legal Pot in California in 2010? "Oaksterdam" Provides the Model
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DH: No, really.
RL: Yep. The new President signed it, and Vicente Fox (Quesada), the ex president, just went on the media saying it’s time to look at and debate legalizing. He’s the one that put the original bill to legalize small amounts two years ago; and you remember the fire storm that happened with Bush. They all jumped down their throats and he said, "OH! THAT’S CRAZINESS! WHO WOULD EVER CALL FOR THIS?!?!" This time, the new bill just went right through; no muss, no fuss -- nobody said a word and nobody’s debating it.
DH: How do the Mexican Cartels work in the United States? Do they grow pot here?
RL: I think cartel is a media word to make it sound scarier -- Cartel is supposed to be a monopolistic organization that controls the total market of something; like OPEC, to control the price of oil by cutting production, getting all its’ members to reduce the flow of oil. There’s nothing like that with this business. There are too many producers, too many different companies, so there is no cartel, first of all. Now -- there may be business people or cannabis producers (whatever you call them) who are Mexican decent here growing -- that’s what we’ve seen in the past couple years, is the big plantation growers instead of hippies with a couple hundred plants; you’ve got guys with thousands … tens of thousands.
DH: But is that mostly on their own land?
RL: No ... no -- that’s part of the point. Possibly one of the reasons they’re doing it here is that after 9/11, security borders have gotten a little bit tougher, and so if they grow it here, they don’t have to worry about smuggling it across. It’s already here.
DH: One question I don’t see discussed very much, is the difference between legalization and decriminalization.
RL: “Decrim” doesn’t really do anything. We’ve had decrim in what, a dozen states? ... including California since the 1970’s, which makes like a hundred dollar fine for under an ounce and it’s not an arrestable offense, like a parking ticket or a speeding ticket -- that’s what decrim is. It does something for the people that aren’t getting arrested. It’s a good thing for them. But it doesn’t do anything to deal with the black-market crime because it doesn’t address sales, cultivation ... anything. As a matter of fact, alcohol prohibition was “decrim”. Did you know that? Alcohol was only illegal to be made or transported or sold -- you could possess all you wanted on a personal level ... so your can see all of the crime and violence -- Tommy Gun-Al Capone, that came with that “decrim”. That’s why anyone who is serious about drug reform really hates decrim, because you can see how it could be used against reformers -- when they say, “Well, we decrimmed and then there was still all of this violence -- see? “ It doesn’t do any good.
DH: Do you have worries that with legalization that the corporations are going to come in and dominate the market with massive amounts of marketing dollars?
RL: It’ll be just like the wine industry. You may have some Ernst & Julio Gallo that’s out there in supermarkets for the lower ... you know -- like Mad Dog 20/20 and Boon’s Farm ... the low quality stuff. And then I think a lot of it would be like the wine industry with little boutique wineries and people liking very specific tastes and flavors. My big thing is to get the people out of the prisons and to stop the injustice. All of the rest of the shit is just whiny stuff.