Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is "Big Marijuana" Coming to Washington

Jamen Shively is coming…and to most marijuana activists, this is not necessarily a good thing. Shively is an aspiring pot profiteer who dreams of building a budding marijuana empire. The 45-year-old Microsoft manager vowed to raise $10 million quickly to build his marijuana empire and hopes to turn it into an international powerhouse. He wants his company, Diego Pellicer, to be world-renowned in marijuana circles and eventually across the globe.

While Shively has promised a "cautious and measured" expansion, many marijuana advocates and state regulators are nervous that he will attract unwanted attention to their new system and create a backlash across the country. His vision is remarkably similar to "Big Tobacco" who cashed in for years on American's addictions and abuse. Those who are in charge of growing Washington's legal marijuana economy are concerned that this type of profiteering could destroy the legalized marijuana movement and create havoc for the state.

At the moment, it is still unclear how the federal government plans to address Washington and Colorado's new pot laws. While the Justice Department has said that it doesn't intend to prosecute medical marijuana users, it may go after those individuals (like Shively) who try to get rich off of commercial sales. They may even sue to block Washington and Colorado pot growers, processors, and stores.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Government Spends $20 Billio per year Trying to Prevent an American High

In 2013, the United States government spent $17.7 billion on the NASA program. That same year, they spent an estimated $20 billion on the war on marijuana. Sadly, this enormous amount of money has been simply spent "trying" to stop people from getting high—not actually achieving it. In 2011, marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug in the country and almost half of all adults have tried it at least once in their lives. These are the highest numbers ever recorded, so the government's $20 billion dollar/year marijuana crack-down has been largely ineffective.

Yet even though there are more adults using marijuana and it is more readily available than ever before, where has this money been going? Simple--this $20 billion has been spent to arrest and incarcerate individuals who possess, sell, and consume pot. Since 1989, more people have been put in jail for drug related offenses than for all other violent crimes combined. This is a disturbing trend that many hope the legalization of marijuana will curtail.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana across the country often point to the fact that marijuana is safer than nicotine, less addictive than caffeine, and causes fewer deaths than alcohol, yet it is the only one that is still illegal. They believe that $20 billion is an awful lot to waste on the war on marijuana—especially since the majority of Americans back the legalization of marijuana. Now that Washington and Colorado have legalized pot, will the federal government join the movement?