Marijuana To The Rescue

March 13, 2009 at 9:00 pm (Individualism)

The nice thing about disasters is the opportunity for people to re-acquaint themselves with common sense.  Suddenly, an explosion of common sense is occurring in the media and even among politicians.  Not concerning things like liberty, or sound monetary policy, or sound foreign policy.  But, specifically regarding weed.

First came the shot over the bows from San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.  Proposing that marijuana be regulated and taxed, bringing the state billions in revenue, he introduced some long-overdue legislation that essentially asserts marijuana is no worse than alcohol, and alcohol brings the government big money.  Several economists agree with the premise, pointing to a similar policy enacted during the Great Depression that had positive benefits; revenue, decrease of mob power, and a return to personal liberty: the end of Prohibition.

In fact, the positive economic impact is twofold: the massive revenue aside, the cost savings of not prosecuting and not imprisoning pot smokers is equally gargantuan.  Study after study has concluded we spend far too much on incarceration.  We are, after all, the world’s largest per-capita jailers: one out of every 31 adults is in the corrections system, with more than 1 out of every 100 in prison.

Critics are quick to point out the invisible costs of encouraging marijuana use, from medical costs to crime to lost productivity.  The same criticisms were what caused Prohibition to be established, but, as time went by, most were discovered to be simply scaremongering tactics and completely untrue.  Being as anywhere from 40% to 60% of Americans have used marijuana, depending on the poll, and roughly half support legalization, I’d say the danger can’t be any greater than that of alcohol or tobacco.  In fact, since roughly 85,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every year in the US and another 435,000 die from tobacco, and exactly ZERO die from marijana, despite its prevalance, I’d say odds are good the potential negative effects of legalization are miniscule in comparison.

Unrelated, but at the same time very related, the Federal Government signaled it is no longer rabidly, irrationally, opposed to marijuana in all its forms, by announcing it will no longer target sick patients and medical dispensaries in states that have legal provisions for medical use of marijuana.  This is huge. 

In 1996, California voters passed a law that established for the medical use of marijana but the Federal Government decided it had the authority to overrule state law and it continued to arrest and imprison legal users, even terminal cancer patients.  Of course, the last time we had prohibition, we had to actually amend the Constitution of the United States, but due to various devious rulings and interpretations since, the Federal Government somehow decided it had the authority to regulate (read: outlaw) “controlled substances” (read: whatever it wants) without any hindrance (or common sense) so no new Amendment was needed to outlaw pot.

And of course, no objective studies have been done in decades on the effects of marijuana, since you can’t do tests without the physical plant, and the Federal Government refused the plant to any researchers that didn’t show negative effects as a result of the studies.  It’s a great approach — I think the Catholic Church did something similar when those pesky heretics tried to promote the idea the world was round.

Anyway, I digress.  Here’s to the return of common sense.  Hopefully, so-called Conservatives who have been opposed to legalization will question why they vehemently support the Federal Government trampling all over their personal freedoms and imprisoning people at taxpayer expense for the crime of using a drug that is less harmful than aspirin.

Today’s article of doom: the always entertaining Jim Rogers.


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Gearing Up

July 21, 2008 at 5:17 pm (Individualism)

Rather than continuously rant about the inevitable crash, I’ve decided to approach it in a more practical manner, so I’ve been perusing sites like this and this and this.  I spent the weekend gathering things from garage sales and craigslist at a huge discount, stocking up on useful tools that will become invaluable as time goes on.

At one garage sale, where I found a nice welding helmet for $3, I noticed that all the people rummaging through the goods skipped the tools, skipped the non-electric appliances, and skipped the glass jars.  Instead, they all huddled through the DVDs, VHS tapes, and video games.  What a difference a year will make.  Contrast that behavior to what will occur next summer when people realize they may have to radically re-think their existence. 

Ironically, at this crux which will re-define what it means to live in the 21st century — this period which will occupy an entire chapter in the high school textbooks of World History like the Great Depression does — we hear only quibbling among the mainstream media whether the growth is 1% or 1.2% here in the United States.  Completely irrelevant numbers that mean nothing in the larger context of what’s occurring, and the last to know are generally those who are most greatly invested in the system — the same system that brought you “Iraq has WMDs!”

Rather than tell the truth that the dollar is plummeting, inflation is spiraling out of control and is 3 to 6 times the official numbers, our national debt is beyond the point of no return, our manufacturing base is gone, and we are doing a balancing act upon a knife’s edge to not go bankrupt as a nation, taking out half of Europe with us, the powers that be are convinced that the best approach is to convince people everything is okay, and the hypnotic suggestion will somehow turn into self-fulfilling prophecy.

But, if you look hard enough, you hear something completely different.  You hear it loudly.  And it’s scary.  There is a lot you can do, however.  Dig up some vegetable beds.  Use the clothesline.  Mend things when they break instead of throwing them away.  Learn to can.  Build the confidence you’ll need to survive in a world where the illusion of safety is no longer there, and real threats to security, rather than phantom terrorists, are around every corner.

Today’s article of doom: Gas prices could rise by 70%.

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Economic Crash has a Bright Side

March 14, 2008 at 4:17 pm (Individualism)

I read a great article yesterday.  A paranoiac’s article; someone even more doom-mongering than myself.  And an article that will likely prove to me mostly true.  However, all is not bleak with the impending depression.  There will be a lot of great things that come out of it.

Many will give up cars entirely, moving to small towns or, villages growing gardens and walking to all needs. Bikes, walking, motorcycles, and horses become the newer method of transportation for many. Several will grow to like it as health-exercise improves and stress melts away. Lower expectations shall serve many well. Those unable to adjust or, change jump-off buildings, go nuts or, cope badly.

Will there be a total departure from our modern way of life. No, but societies including America will see changes. Energy conservation becomes a religion and wastefulness of all kinds shall disappear. Smart people see these things coming and shall quietly and unobtrusively prepare. Low key is best while flash, dash and rah-rah materialism turns passé.

Here’s the complete article.  An economic collapse might be just what the doctor ordered.  We’ll become more capable and independent as we trade entertainment for knowledge and junk for goods.  We’ll become better resource stewards as waste shrinks dramatically.  We’ll probably become more in tune with our local community as we realize the government doesn’t have the ability to look out for us.  On the whole, it’ll be the greatest “reality show” to date.

Today’s article of doom: watching the dollar die.

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