Illegal smile

By AL DIAMON  |  August 11, 2010

It costs less than $50 to grow an ounce of pot, according to folks I've met who engage in that practice for fun and profit. Street prices are inflated because of the associated legal consequences. Since dispensaries won't face that expense, they ought to be able to offer cancer patients and people living with AIDS a little relief for no more than $75 to $100 an ounce and still cover their overhead.

But government bureaucrats are concerned that if the dispensaries price their pot that cheaply, those sneaky sick people won't smoke it themselves. Instead, they'll sell it on the black market, where they could allegedly receive as much as $450 an ounce. So to prevent diversion, these forward-thinking officials made sure the dispensaries set the price of their grass at levels equal to or above the street value.

It apparently never occurred to them that if people in need of medical marijuana (who already have to purchase a $100 license just to be allowed to shop at the dispensaries) could buy the drug at a reasonable cost, they'd stop doing business with illegal suppliers, which is how many of them currently get their medication. To compete, the street would have to cut its prices (Rebates! Newspaper coupons! Discounts for ordering online!). But there's no danger of that happening, because the alternative-universe clunkheads in charge have crafted what amounts to price guarantees for illegal marijuana producers.

You have to wonder what they're smoking.

Angry? Take a deep breath. Hold it. Hold it. OK, exhale. There, don't you feel calmer? Now, tell me all about what's harshing your mellow by e-mailingaldiamon@herniahill.net.

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