Legislators want to sell dope to balance the budget

It has often been said thatpolitics makes strange bedfellows. Well, apparently it would appear that someof our representatives feel it’s time to surrender to the war on drugs and sellmarijuana through our state liquor stores. Does sort of cause one to wonderwhat they have been smoking in all of those committee meetings.

Of course major newspapers like theSeattle Times have jumped on the bandwagon. I’m sure I know why it’s a popularmove in those circles.

The law as currently proposed has anumber of restrictions intended to make it more “palatable.” For example, itmakes it illegal to smoke on campus and you can’t light up at the liquor store.No, just have to be an adult and go home to enjoy your joint. After all wewouldn’t want anybody driving around under the influence.

This legislation is also clearlyintended to create a real “home grown” business opportunity. Under the billimporting marijuana from out of state will be a class C felony. After all, wewouldn’t want those out of state cartels competing with the state monopoly onweed sales. And farmers who want to raise marijuana as a “cash crop” to sell tothe state must be properly licensed and pay an annual fee of $5,000. You can”grow your own” as long as your garden isn’t visible from the street, after allwe wouldn’t want the neighbors to know where the potheads lived. And of coursesince it’s not illegal to possess it, knowing who the local gardeners are couldprovide some “midnight” competition to the state’s dealers.

Just what this insanity will do tosubsidize the out of control spending habits of our illustrious legislators isnot exactly clear. It seems no one is really sure how many “non-medical”marijuana smokers will take advantage of this new opportunity or how much theywill be willing to pay. Estimates have run from $80 million to over $1 billion.

Personally I could care less about legalizingmarijuana. Despite being a child of the 60’s I have never tried it although Ihave many friends who did and some still use it. None of the people I know thatuse it are drug addicts. Although I do believe there is a difference betweenalcohol and drugs like marijuana. It is possible to have a drink withoutbecoming intoxicated, but in my experience, the same does not appear to bepossible with marijuana. That said if you want to fry your brain that is yourright in a free society. The problems begin when you act irresponsibly thenwant the rest of society to pay for your poor judgment.

The real problem with this entireissue is it is just another way for the legislature to kick the can down theroad and avoid the issue of out of control spending. Having failed in gettingtaxpayers to accept a state income tax it seems the politicians are determinedto do anything but what needs to be done – cut expenses. So now like theaddicts that they hope to tap to support their own spending addiction,legislators are trying to establish a new “sin” tax.

Just say no.

Editor’s note: The bill had not moved out ofcommittee as of Monday, March 7 and is presumed to be dead for this session.However, since the bill has revenue implications to the state there is a chanceit could be revived at the eleventh hour in order to fill the gap in the budgetthat is currently projected to be $4.6 billion.