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Top 5 Bad Excuses for Voting Against Pot Legalization

Some pot smokers are voting against prohibition. Here's why that's nonsense.

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SCARE #2) This is not "true legalization" - it's just "decriminalization on steroids"!

I find this to be an odd scare, because, what, we're against decriminalization now?  But as it goes, the pot smokers making this claim are against Washington's legalization because it contains no provision to allow people to grow their own marijuana plants for personal use.  Colorado's measure allows for cultivation of three plants, but there and in Washington some tokers claim it's not "true legalization" because marijuana would still be in the state's "Schedule I" designation or that limits of one ounce aren't "true legalization" because there aren't limits on how much legal beer one can possess or buy.  Even in Oregon, where the legalization would allow unlimited personal possession and cultivation, a few cannabis consumers say it's not "true legalization" because the state would be taxing and regulating it.

WHY IT'S WRONG:  These are word games.  "Decriminalization" as everyone but these people understand it means "removal of criminal penalties in favor of civil punishments".  Oregon and Colorado are "decriminalized", but getting caught with a personal amount of weed still means a hefty fine and civil sanctions, like losing your driver's license.  And it's still illegal, which means its possession is the probable cause needed by police to harass you further.  "Legalization" means legal - no ticket, no fine, no record, no arrest, no punishment, no sanction, and most importantly, no probable cause.

Now, it may not be "as legal" as you might like, but all three of these measures are certainly "legalization".  "Legal" drugs is a spectrum that ranges from tightly-controlled hospital morphine to pharmacy-prescribed Viagra to over-the-counter aspirin.  As long as you're following the regulations, those drugs are legal, just as marijuana will be.

SCARE #3) With all the taxes, marijuana is going to cost $600 per ounce!

What's very strange about this scare tactic is that the people who employ it will then also tell you that the legalization measure won't do anything to hurt the black market, because it will just undercut the highly taxed legal marijuana market.  Apparently when people are trying to sell weed, market forces will make them adjust their prices.

So why doesn't this also affect the legal taxed marijuana market?  If the black market is so successful in undercutting the state, why wouldn't the state respond by lowering prices in order to compete?  The state's motivation in taxing weed is to raise revenue; if that revenue doesn't materialize, the state will adjust.

WHY IT'S WRONG:  Are you going to buy a $600 legal ounce when you're getting it now for $200-$300?  These scares are all based on marijuana growers beginning with the prices they charge now at the wholesale level, based on the risk or prohibition, and calculating the taxes from that point.  When it's legal, you start at the production cost level, not the prohibition risk level, and prices of marijuana drop up to 50% at the retail level.

Anybody who tells you that the price of marijuana will be negatively affected by marijuana legalization is somebody who'll see a negative effect in their wallet when the prohibition tax is eliminated.

SCARE #4) This is just a conspiracy to control pot smokers and the marijuana market!

This article about terrified pot smokers wouldn't be complete without some conspiracy theory.   From "this is a conspiracy to catch us all for DUIs" to "this is a conspiracy to give away the marijuana market to Big Pharma / Big Tobacco", we've heard them all.  These scares always ignore the fact that a conspiracy exists right now to catch us all for having marijuana and it gives away the marijuana market to murderous Mexicans.