Liberals should learn from pot regulation

Totally safe for work. How long has it been since you watched Reefer Madness?

Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000. It is now 15 years later, and there are still no legal medical marijuana (MM) dispensaries open and serving the public. What is wrong?

Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, is frustrated by the long delays. The senator is the point man in Nevada for the Bernie Sanders campaign. If Segerblom thinks that government is slow and inefficient with medical marijuana, wait until either Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected. With Sanders, we will have to wait for government approval of even politically correct deodorant. And Hillary echoed the Vermont senator’s economic illiteracy, making it clear that she will oppose the new sharing economy to keep the taxi cartels happy.

Clark and Washoe counties went ahead and accepted applications for cultivation and retail dispensaries, based on what they thought was a green light from Carson City. But then the state decided they would pre-select the qualified applicants. This turf war is causing confusion over who will be allowed to develop the lucrative franchises. And lucrative they will be, as the marijuana industry is poised to be one of the major economic engines that will jumpstart the economy, which despite numerous bailouts and Federal Reserve pump priming has not recovered from the 2008 recession. The expense to start up a legal MM establishment means only the well-heeled and politically connected need apply. Besides the red tape slowdown, large cultivators may be waiting to invest until recreational marijuana is approved or not in the 2016 election.

Since there are no large cultivation operations up and running, medical marijuana patients themselves have to supply the product. The law says that a medical marijuana patient can possess two ounces of pot and can grow up to a dozen plants. But district attorneys are saying that patients, by law, can only sell or donate their personal stashes to a dispensary. Segerblom says the legislators in Carson City intended that patients could harvest the 12 plants to sell to a dispensary, which would generate more than 12 pounds of pot to distribute to other sick patients. But the district attorneys appear horrified at the idea of so many micro entrepreneurs being able to legally grow and sell their homegrown pot. There are now calls to get the state attorney general involved to issue an opinion on the matter.

In the meantime, the shared economy that Hillary hates is filling in the gap. You can go and see a list of “dispensaries” that will deliver the medicine to you. These entrepreneurs are obviously working with unknown sources to get the medication and deliver the product faster than Pizza Hut to your doorstep. The underground distribution is regulated not by the government, but by the consumers themselves who write reviews. They are working openly because they are filling a real need. The local authorities are looking the other way, at least until the government-imposed barriers to entry in the legal market are resolved.

In California, the medical marijuana industry arose much more spontaneously, with very little red tape. The problem is that without all the regulations we see in Nevada and other states, they are open to raids from the feds, whose policy now is to leave only heavily regulated states alone.

If only liberals would learn from the way government is botching their beloved marijuana industry and apply this lesson to see how government interference in the economy mucks everything up! Libertarians and constitutional conservatives should continue to use states’ rights principles to end the federal interference and allow for grassroots competition in the expanding Green Cross industry.