This piece is not an argument for or against legal weed because, I admit it, I’m torn. I want to be against legal weed. As a (mostly) conservative Republican that’s the position I think I’m supposed to take.
On the other hand, my last name is Kush. There is absolutely, positively no way that with my last name it was possible to go through life without at least trying a little Kush.
For those of you who led a sheltered life or listened to Nancy Reagan and just said no, Kush is a particular variety of cannabis that descends from the Hindu Kush mountains. Frankly, it’s good sh!t! It’ll have you chilling out on the couch with a bag of chips within minutes.
Besides being a Republican I do have a bit of a small “L” libertarian steak in me. Hell, I even ran for Philadelphia city council as a Libertarian a lifetime ago. My point is I believe in small government and personal freedoms and responsibilities. In other words, I don’t really care what my neighbor does so long as it doesn’t have a negative impact on my life.
Then there’s the whole thing about me being anti-hypocrite. I have a very difficult time being against something I’ve actually done. I don’t do it now, I don’t even drink. High school and young adulthood (and maybe beyond) is a completely different story. I could still make a bowl out of an apple or a beer can if I had to.
Fortunately, I am not in the legislature, therefore I don’t have to vote on it. Plus, it wouldn’t matter because like it or not, pot, weed, marijuana, cannabis or whatever you want to call it is going to be legal in New Jersey.
Since weed is going to be legal in Jersey, I hope they do it right and stop with the “social justice” garbage. It’s about the money!
For one thing, according to NJ.com folks could get their weed delivered. That’s just plain stupid! When I was in high school I spent a lot of nights out at my friend Michael’s. We would get his sister to call the local liquor store, posing as his mother, to call for a delivery of a case of Budweiser. When the guy arrived with Michael’s mother’s order, his sister would hide in the bathroom with the shower running. Michael would answer the door and yell, “Mom the delivery guy is here.” His sister would yell back something about being in the shower and to pay the guy. It worked every single time. Who is to say kids won’t use a similar tactic with the weed delivery guy? No deliveries, and while we’re at it, stop with the booze deliveries, too.
Since weed is going to be legal, let’s make things fair for South Jerseyans who might want to get into the business. For example, there is much discussion about the idea of Social Impact Zones. While I frequently disagree with NJ.com they have done an excellent job covering the whole legal weed thing. NJ.com wrote this about impact zones:
The commission will give preference to applicants whose businesses are located in impact zones, "for which past criminal marijuana enterprises contributed to higher concentrations of law enforcement activity, unemployment, and poverty," according to the bill.
The zone must have a population of 120,000 or more, or it must have a high crime index as measured by the State Police, an annual average unemployment rate of 15 percent and rank in the top 33 percent for marijuana- or hashish-related arrests, the bill said.
On the population criteria alone, only Newark, Jersey City, Paterson and Elizabeth would qualify as an impact zone, according to Census data.
If the above is accurate, South Jerseyans wishing to get into the legal weed business are at a disadvantage to folks in the northern part of the state wishing to get into the business. I’m fairly certain there are locations in every South Jersey county that fit into the “for which past criminal marijuana enterprises contributed to higher concentrations of law enforcement activity, unemployment, and poverty,” category. Why should they be at a disadvantage due to population?
Apparently, some of the brainiacs in Trenton want to allow for consumption areas at weed dispensaries. While these consumption areas will be separate from the area where users actually buy their pot, it’s still a dumb idea. I’m speaking from experience here.
Basically, the brainiacs are saying, “smoke your weed and go drive.” I know that back in the day when I wasn’t just saying no I worked with a guy named John. John always had weed on him. Driving to work he loved to fire up a doobie and, yes, he would pass it to me. I was a terrible driver while high and still don’t know how we aren’t dead. Bad idea! And, please spare me the “people drink at a bar and then drive,” stuff. Even when I was a drinker I would not drink and then drive. But, seriously, if people buy their weed, smoke it before going home, they’ll buy more before leaving.
Illegal pot is going to be cheaper and not just because of the taxes. Believe it or not, according to NJ.com, “Applicants who apply to be licensed cannabis businesses by the state must sign an agreement they will hire workers represented by labor unions. Exceptions are made for micro-business owners.”
Yup! You read that right – Trenton wants to unionize legal weed dealers. You know that’s going to help drive the price up.
The extra taxes on legal pot and unionized workers driving up the cost tells me, and any person with common sense, this is not a social justice issue, but a money grab.
I’m still torn on whether or not weed should be legal, but I wish folks in the legislature would be honest and admit it’s all about money.