Sunday, January 5, 2014

Will Legalized Pot Increase Unemployment in Colorado?

Denver is going up in smoke.

With their recent victory over the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. In Denver, you can smell excitement in the air.

But that's not the only thing you can smell in Denver's mile-high air, because Colorado just recently unveiled the modern world's very first fully-legal marijuana industry. Now cities like Denver are going up in smoke.

In Colorado, no doctor's note is needed as is required in 18 other states and Washington, D.C. --- and there's no unregulated production either (like there is in the Netherlands).

But will legalized pot increase unemployment in Colorado?

According Republican claims, their "job creators" can't find enough people to fill open job positions, because too many of the unemployed can't pass a drug test --- and that's why the GOP wants to pass laws requiring the jobless to take a drug test before being eligible for unemployment benefits.

But on the other hand, the Republicans are also claiming that because the unemployment rate is down, there are plenty of jobs available if the potheads would just get off their lazy asses and go find a job --- and the GOP used this as reason for ending federal extended benefits for millions of long-term unemployed Americans.

The GOP says Obama is doing a lousy job with the economy (although stocks are at record highs) and he hasn't created enough jobs. But at the same time, the GOP is also saying there is no reason whatsoever to extend unemployment benefits because the economy has improved --- so which is it?

The GOP's plan for creating more jobs has always been to further cut taxes for the rich and subsidize large corporations, all while cutting government programs for the poor and eliminating the federal minimum wage law and busting labor unions (because union workers have gotten pay increases over the years to help offset inflation --- and that's why private sector and government workers who belong to a union are now paid better than those who do not).

Currently Denver's unemployment rate is only 5.8%, and the state's unemployment rate is 6.5% --- but will legalized pot increase unemployment in Colorado? Will people start getting too "high" to go to work? Will the state slip into a drug-induced coma and experience millions of people dropping out of the work force? Or will the new marijuana industry in Colorado actually create more new jobs?

The Huffington Post reported that as of January 1, 2014 (when pot first became legal in Colorado) the state had 24 shops open, most of them in Denver.

The Denver Post reported that Colorado has 517 medical-marijuana dispensaries, 138 medical marijuana-infused products businesses and 736 medical-marijuana-cultivation facilities, according to their Marijuana Enforcement Division (That sounds like "jobs".)

The division, which oversees Colorado's regulation of marijuana businesses, says so far they have accepted 136 applications from people seeking to open recreational pot shops. The division also accepted 28 applications for recreational marijuana-infused-products businesses and 174 applications for recreational cultivation facilities.

But when pot first went on sale, some shoppers were complaining that they were paying three times more than they were used to. Colorado has no statewide pricing structure. One dispensary was charging $70 for one-eighth of an ounce of high-quality pot.

Remember 1969, when an ounce of good weed, such as Acapulco Gold, only cost $10 for a five-finger lid? Now in Denver it can cost as much as $560 an ounce!

Accounting for inflation, $10 in 1969 would be $63 in today's dollars ---- so $560 (even if it includes taxes) is a total rip off. (unless the bud today is 56x stronger than in was in 1969.)

CannabisWith all the advances in technology in the agricultural industry, genetics and hybrid breeding, there's quite a variety of "herb" these days --- and much more potent too (without being chemically induced.) But no matter, instead of prices going down, like everything else, prices went up --- but $560 an ounce is just plain outrageous.

Just a day before pot was legal in Denver, Medical marijuana patients had paid as little as $25 for the same amount (or about $200 an ounce) --- which is still 3 times more than in 1969 when accounting for inflation.

But what about those who are unemployed in Colorado (especially now, with extended federal unemployment benefits being cut) --- how will those people be able to afford to pay such high prices for marijuana to feed their craven addictions? Will medical marijuana be covered under Obamacare? And if so, what is the Republican's plan to repeal and replace this provision?

Maybe if Big Tobacco starts selling pot, they could create a price war and bring prices down --- or maybe all the Big Tobacco companies will buy each other out (merge) and become one big multinational corporate pot conglomerate (a monopoly) and corner the market on Mary Jane and sell pot for $1,000 an ounce. Or maybe the current tobacco companies might conspire with other tobacco companies to sell it for $2,000 an ounce. That might help increase their stocks prices and raise the value of all those 401ks (And just imagine the value of all those CEO stock-options --- Holy smokes Batman!!)

Zig Zag cigarette rolling paper

It's been reported that marijuana (THC) can also be introduced into an oil and used in e-cigarettes, because when inhaled in liquid or wax form through a vaporizer, cannabis emits an odorless vapor --- unlike when toking up with a regular joint, which emits a sweet and unique aroma.

New York assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said, "Once you try electronic cigarettes, you can become hooked to them, move on to cigarettes and then move on to other drugs." (Like LSD perhaps?)

In 1969 one could buy a big fat "doobie" for only a couple bucks; but nowadays it seems, you'd have to take out a payday loan to get a good buzz if you purchased pot legally. It might be cheaper if you just took a risk and drove to Mexico for a weekend --- because at $560 for a dime-bag of weed, that's the real Reefer Madness*.

Rolling a jointBut in the end, Colorado's unemployment rate most likely won't be affected by the legalization of marijuana --- and neither will the number in incidents of home invasions, robberies, rapes and murders dramatically rise either. (Although, while getting the "munchies", it may increase obesity in the state.)

And maybe less people will be going to jail in Colorado for minor "drug" offenses.

But the GOP will still want more drug-testing of the down-and-out; and it's probably only a matter of time before they'll also want to drug-test seniors before they can draw their Social Security checks (but yet, members of Congress would never subject themselves to the same tests before drawing their own overly generous salaries).

In conclusion: As a word of caution --- if you legally buy pot in Colorado, you can't legally take it across another state line --- and if you visit the State of Colorado, check the laws in your own home state first regarding the possession of drug paraphernalia before returning home with that new spiffy water-pipe or "roach clip". Also, if you do use marijuana, please follow an old sage's advice: "Don't bogart that joint my friend".

* Reefer Madness (the YouTube video below) is a 1930's American propaganda exploitation film revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana — from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape and a descent into madness. (It might only be entertaining today if you got high first before watching it.)

* Full disclosure and disclaimer: Neither the editors of this blog nor this website endorses nor opposes the legalized use of marijuana for Americans 18 years or older in any State of the Union. Nor do we approve of smoking herb, drinking alcohol or texting while driving or operating heavy machinery. We only report opinions expressed by others who are not associated with this blog. And even if anyone we know did actually smoke the stuff, they didn't inhale. That's our story and we're stickin' to it.

1 comment:

  1. but what about dispensaries and separate parts of drug stores or pharmacies. that would decrease unemployment rates, right?