SPOKANE September 6, 2013 - Washington state's voters have said it's okay to feel good when you smoke your medicine. Smoking marijuana for pleasure is legal here and the new attitude toward smoking weed has fallen into the startled laps of bureaucrats. The hippies, who invented the industry, knew what they were doing. The bureaucrats haven't a clue.
How can they make sure it's a safe product? Must it be sold in child-proof containers? (That really worked well with child-proof lighters, huh?) Tested for molds, pesticides? What must be on the label? THC potency? How to prevent "leaking" into other states?
And, finally, how can you invent an industry whose businesses are refused bank accounts? Washington Congressman Denny Heck, in response to complaints from medical marijuana dispensers about bank shut-outs, introduced a federal bill to require banks and credit unions to allow weed merchants to open accounts. Federal banking laws prevent many legal, regulated pot businesses from opening bank accounts. Instead, they're forced to operate as cash-only enterprises, and we know people who spend cash are criminals and terrorists.
Another problem with attempts to legitimize dope deals is, the economics are all wrong for business success, all right with the people who buy weed. Smaller and smaller amounts of today's high-powered bud are needed for an evening's entertainment. It is Detroit's planned obsolescence tactic turned upside down. The folks in Olympia, where government hides out up here, aren't anywhere close to solving this one.
If and when the state task force issues a set of complex and impossible requirements to launch a weed industry, that will end the bureaucrats' role. Enter the lawyers. Random drug tests at work? Looking for something now as innocent as a beer on the way home? Whatever company is first sued over an employee's termination for a bad drug evaluation will win. All the other organizations lined up and headed for court over testing will take a good hard look at the cost of defending. Out-of-court settlements will spread wildly and company policies will be rewritten. Then will come the lawsuit over the downsized drug test failures - a note in the employee's file. That practice will soon be devoured by hungry lawyers.
Already workers who lived in terror of that possible random drug test are lighting up. The club has become a twig.
Taj Mahal said it. "Ain't nobody's business but my own."
Editor's note: The Mountain Messenger, California's oldest weekly newspaper since 1853, is published on Thursdays from Downieville, California.
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