MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSING SHITNAMI HITS BOULDER TODAY
Firstly, a true “shitnami” is worse than a shit-a-cane, and several times as bad as a shit-nado. Depending on your status as a dispensary/center or medical marijuana grower, starting today you’ll have to brace yourself against the onslaught of demands coming at you from state revenue agents (who carry guns), not to mention Alisa Lewis (who carries gum.) Alisa will be accepting your cash bundle starting today at the municipal building in downtown Boulder, whilst the revenue agents will just irritate the hell out of you like a swarm of mosquitoes until you ask to be summarily executed.
An article appearing in the press, indicated that the new laws have – surprise, surprise – helped to create an invigorated black market. And why not? Instead of focusing on the areas where the state could have succeeded within the parameters of helping medical marijuana patients while collecting revenue—the obvious route—the new laws cover every stinking detail ever invented and then some, with a stack of licensing requirements for anyone involved in the business even slightly. (For instance, in Boulder, to be a legal “caregiver”, even with only two patients, the city expects you to turn over $5,000 to them, today if possible. (Ha, ha.))
Several MMJ attorneys in interviews with the press have pointed out just how difficult some of the legal aspects will be to parse and decipher. For instance, the law requires that 70 percent of a dispensary’s product be produced by the dispensary – but with marijuana plants being notorious in their ability to create anywhere from two ounces to two pounds of product per individual plant, how is anyone going to monitor and then regulate the percentage of home-grown sold out of a given dispensary? For instance, if they sell two ounces from a plant, and that fits the 70 percent rule, what about the remainder from that plant? Must they destroy it? Or do they pack it up and ship to Nebraska?
Federal law enforcement agents have expressed their belief that the “extra” pot people are growing is winding up sold illegally across state lines. And why not? Meanwhile, if the law had been simplified from the outset, with a tax or fee system based strictly on the amount sold (3 cents on the dollar, perhaps?) it would have allowed the mid-level and low-level entrepreneurs to stay in the game and given less incentive to any of the hyper-aggressive types who simply want to grow and sell it any which way they can.
As an MMJ cardholder, I can certify that the black market isn’t restricted to product flowing out of state. I’ve indeed been offered not-too-awful MMJ at a price well below $200 an ounce, a price that would have been nearly astounding only two years ago.
What happened? The new laws – convoluted and complex as they are – served to drive out most of the people who were willing and quite able to stay legal, given a legal structure only slightly less burdensome and imposing. In separate news, the state has confirmed that an unusually high percentage of the grow/dispensers staying in the game have criminal backgrounds or connections – the opposite of what communities were hoping to see when the legislature decided to come up with its regulatory scheme.
Yes, there’s a lot of marijuana hitting Colorado and neighboring states, but for the marijuana mini-moguls and sincere caregivers alike, the legal shitnami may have only just begun.
Rob Smoke, a former Commissioner of Human Relations for the City of Boulder, supports freedom of choice when it comes to adults and marijuana.