Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado

Marijuana-leafStarting on January 1 of this year marijuana became completely legal to buy in the state of Colorado.  The lines were incredible.  Supposedly around $1m of business was done on the first day.  My guess is that initial surge of excitement will die down.

There are certainly a lot of naysayers in regards to the legalization of marijuana.  I am not one of them.  After reading David Brooks OpEd in the NYTImes; Weed – Been There, Done That I felt compelled to write something.  Brooks basically writes that he got stoned in his youth and he realized that smoking pot was juvenile.  It was fun for a bit but eventually he moved on because people who don't get stoned choose a better life for themselves.  He doesn't find it pleasureable and believes people should be discouraged from using weed.  

I wonder if David Brooks has a few drinks at the end of the day to unwind?  I am fully aware that many people believe that marijuana is not the same comparison yet there is nothing worse than alcohol addicition or even waking up from too many drinks the night before. Many studies say that marijuana leads to heavier drug use but what percentage?  I know many people who smoke and continue to smoke years after college and as they get older they use it like having a stiff drink at the end of the day or even a glass of wine.  Every one is different and many may disagree with me but that is my own experience.    

To me the pros outweigh the cons in legalizing marijuana.  There is a demand for recreational smoking and with that there will always be a supply.  Having the Government control the supply is a good thing. The tax benefits for each state will be enormous and Colorado is putting theirs directly into education which is a win win for everyone.  I am pretty confident in saying that the state of Colorado will not turn into a bunch of stoners who become unproductive citizens.  

There are no doubt cons but there are with anything.  We are watching gay marriage become legal in almost every state (thank god) and if I was a betting person I would bet that we will see the same thing with the legalization of marijuana. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Brandon Burns

    Sounds like we should share a joint together. 😉

    1. Gotham Gal


  2. Nick Grossman

    I couldn’t agree w you moreI thought brooks’ article was really small minded and weak. Really disappointed in his thinking here

    1. Gotham Gal

      super disappointed in his thinking. makes you realize how conservative he really is.

      1. Nick Grossman

        Yeah I guess so

      2. mattlangan


  3. Andrew Kennedy


  4. awaldstein

    Inevitable and the right thing.Makes me think of those who went to jail for possession and social trafficking in the 60s.The world is getting better a bit every damn day.

    1. Gotham Gal

      the world is ABSOLUTELY getting a bit better every day.

      1. awaldstein

        I get beat up (gently) for being too positive.Inspired optimism with skills and a pragmatic nature can change the world. I work at my piece of it every day.

        1. Gotham Gal

          better seeing the cup half full than half empty.

          1. JimHirshfield

            The joint half smoked? 😉

          2. Gotham Gal

            nice morning chuckle for that

          3. awaldstein

            Pessimism as poise is counter productive, boring and just plain unattractive.

    2. JLM

      .Yes, indeed the world is getting a bit better every damn day.War has been eradicated.The Middle East is safe, harmonious and governed by folks who have their citizens best interests at heart.America’s role in the Middle East has been thoughtful and respected.The Palestinians and the Israelis are living in peace side by side.The specter of North Korea — where things used to be going to the dogs — and Iran as peaceful members of the civilized world has become a reality.Our government has sensitively protected its citizens by listening in on their each and every conversation regardless of whether probable cause has raised it nasty head.The IRS is an instrument of equanimity and fairness and is without political taint.The Congress is the well respected and effective body that the Founding Fathers envisioned. It harmoniously passes damn good legislation which is embraced and supported by all.Our government is professional and competent able to undertake the administration of seemingly complex undertakings with ease and efficiency — cost effectively also.Our economy is robust — unemployment is low and the work force participation rate is rising and strong. Jobs are everywhere.The welfare rolls are decreasing as fast as the unemployment and disability rolls in addition.Spending is careful and frugal.Our budgets are balanced and our deficit is declining as the national debt is being prudently trimmed.Yes, the world is getting a bit better every day. Just wish I could find that world.JLM.

      1. awaldstein

        My condolences my friend ;)There is shit, there will always be. You can look for it and try to change what you are inspired to or you can lament.I was born into a world where I got beat up for being a jew, where civil and gender rights didn’t exist, where gays got beat to death when discovered if not their life’s being ruined, where equal anything didn’t matter, where opportunity for the poor was little cause access to information was limited.Yes–way way WAY better and getting moreso all the time.I know you are an agent for change.I wonder whether the above is simply a moment of sarcastic expression or what?

        1. JLM

          .Arnold, me? Sarcasm?The map of progress you allude to was charted by harnessing American values and rights as stated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.What gives rise to concerns today is the abrogation of those values and rights.What drove the changes you applaud is being abandoned.JLM.

          1. awaldstein

            Of course I understand it as sarcasm my friend.But it is incorrect from my perspective to belittle the hockey stick curve of progress with gay marriage as top of the moment as something unimaginable prior.You may be correct, and your point of view gives me reason to pause, but I see only possibilities.And if people like yourself can share this concern in a way that aggregates not polarizes broader opinion, then indeed, your deep felt concern will drive the barriers to the very changes that I think we agree on.My concern is that these issues get caught in political language and polarize the debate and make the real point get lost.

          2. JLM

            .There is no real hockey stick curve of progress.These are marginal fringe issues whose magnitude is dwarfed by such issues as Middle East security. A national energy policy. The economy.Almost everything that is being dealt with today is political. That is the result of electing ideologues rather than leaders.JLM.

          3. awaldstein

            Maybe I’m showing my age but the dramatic change in human perception of my list seems like a huge step of change in culture as well as to a lesser extent the laws that surround it.

          4. Ryan Frew

            There is ABSOLUTELY a hockey stick curve of progress. Taken from a ’11 HuffPost article quoting entirely legitimate sources:_ The number of people killed in battle – calculated per 100,000 population – has dropped by 1,000-fold over the centuries as civilizations evolved. Before there were organized countries, battles killed on average more than 500 out of every 100,000 people. In 19th century France, it was 70. In the 20th century with two world wars and a few genocides, it was 60. Now battlefield deaths are down to three-tenths of a person per 100,000._ There were fewer than 20 democracies in 1946. Now there are close to 100. Meanwhile, the number of authoritarian countries has dropped from a high of almost 90 in 1976 to about 25 now._ Murder in European countries has steadily fallen from near 100 per 100,000 people in the 14th and 15th centuries to about 1 per 100,000 people now._ Murder within families. The U.S. rate of husbands being killed by their wives has dropped from 1.2 per 100,000 in 1976 to just 0.2. For wives killed by their husbands, the rate has slipped from 1.4 to 0.8 over the same time period._ Rape in the United States is down 80 percent since 1973. Lynchings, which used to occur at a rate of 150 a year, have disappeared.It isn’t that things weren’t worse 25…50…100 years ago, it’s that people didn’t have access to the information about how bad things really were, as we do now.

        2. LE

          “I was born into a world where I got beat up for being a jew”I’m always amazed at how I escaped that. Totally.While I am younger than you it did exist when I was growing up. Oddly enough I have always had this theory that one of the reasons I didn’t have any issues (speculation) was because my last name wasn’t particularly “jewish” sounding. [1]My mother otoh had a jewish sounding last name and growing up in Philly had many issues (of course this was the 30’s and 40’s). My father grew up in Poland, was in a concentration camp, lost family and obviously there were issues there.[1] I’ve also casually noticed that the names of on the synagogue wall (donors and family marking death of people as well as people “involved”) are always very jewish sounding surnames and obviously “jewish”. More or less dovetails with my theory as far as who has more of a need to bond together in judaism. Non scientific observation.

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks for that share LE, I greatly appreciate it.

          2. LE

            My father even though he was an importer of religious goods never encouraged us to wear any jewish stars and didn’t want a menorah in the window because of what happened to him growing up. He didn’t want to be “marked”.No need to test. No need to invite trouble. No need to prove anything (not his words but my thoughts on his reasoning).Fwiw, little known fact, he still gets restitution checks from Germany (not sure if that started in the 40’s and 50’s).

          3. awaldstein

            smartactually it was not till i went to school in ohio that i really felt it clearly.

          4. Ryan Frew

            As an Ohioan, this is embarrassing. Were you in the Cinci or Cleveland area?

          5. awaldstein

            Athens.See you are in Cleveland home of the ever great James Gang–no?Have some old Athens friends who live there.

          6. Ryan Frew

            Ironically, Athens was just placed on the “Top 50 Safest Cities in Ohio” and hardly anyone believed it should be there. The James Gang is definitely from the Cleve – although I’m sure they never smoked anything during their heyday

          7. awaldstein

            Hey bad experiences aside, I have a soft spot for my time there.Beautiful country, swimming in quarries, riding my Harley and reading Rimbaud and Baudelaire.

          8. pointsnfigures

            Ha, my mom grew up in Athens. Might have baby sat you! Athens H.S. grad.

          9. awaldstein

            Cool place actually, big hippy that I most certainly was!Really beautiful country in the hills.

  5. Polite Guest

    http://www.washingtonpost.c…I don’t know if marijuana will end up being the wine or the tobacco of this generation. Only time will tell.

    1. Gotham Gal

      As I said, if I was a betting person I’d say that it will be like the wine and tobacco of this generation. It should be.

      1. Polite Guest

        I meant to say wine ended up being considered positive and tobacco ended up being dragged to congress, lung cancer ads all over including the packaging now and being viewed extremely negatively.

      2. JamesHRH

        That’s an odd pairing, as alcohol has a near universal multi-1000 year history and tobacco is much more limited, I believe.BTW, does smoking pot carry the cancer implications of tobacco? Curious.

  6. pointsnfigures

    wrote about it at as well-my take was different. I think the war on drugs has killed a lot of innocent people and turned people’s lives out without a real purpose. The US needs to end the war on all drugs. Crack cocaine wouldn’t exist if Coke was legal.I think the taxes paid on legal pot will happen, but they won’t be enormous. The black market for pot already exists, and people will switch if govt regulated pot becomes too expensive.Economics rule.

    1. Brandon Burns

      the government pot in colorado is very reasonably priced. and from what i understand, of the highest caliber (as has been the case for years with government sanctioned medical marijuana).the government totally gets that economics rule, and its playing the game accordingly.

    2. fredwilson

      yeah, that too.

    3. Jeff Jones

      Fascinating article on the economics and logistics of legalizing marijuana in Washington

  7. Eddie Wharton

    I understood you to be a betting person…

  8. JLM

    .I write this with a bit of resignation as I watch our country slip into mediocrity. I write without passion or with the desire to convince any reader of the rectitude of my thoughts. I am not proselytizing or speaking to any individual. I am very sad.The legalization of marijuana is one of the worst ideas ever advanced in the history of our country.A few months ago I attended a lovely memorial service for a beautiful young man who died from a dose of heroin. He was the grandson and namesake of a well known oil billionaire. Household name. My wife and I had been to dinner with his parents — wonderful, lovely people who did not deserve this. My daughter was very close friends with his sister.The service was lovely with the exception that it celebrated the obscene reality that this beautiful and promising young man’s life had been snuffed out at the end of a needle and an injection of heroin. He looked like all of our precious children except for the fact that he was now dead.Do not waste your breath telling me that marijuana is not a gateway drug. This young college boy had been smoking marijuana before — under the influence of marijuana intoxication — he decided to take his first and only fling with heroin.The heroin was available through the same channels of distribution as the marijuana.America does not need legalized marijuana. It is just another way of getting high and America has no need for more folks getting high.Spare me your alcohol linked arguments — I have seen alcohol wreck an incredible number of promising lives. If this is equivalent to alcohol, then the canary in the mineshaft must be singing already.Just promise me that when your children are buried that you will embrace the magnificence of marijuana and sing its praises. I want you at their gravesides dressed in white celebrating their short lives with joy.Until then, know that I love your children more than to ever have you experience the tragedy of watching them being buried. I will not pretend that even libertarian notions justify the wrecking of our society and nation.States will reap a pittance of revenue and society will be overrun with the costs of such licentious behavior. Invest in rehab centers.The folks who have brought you the criminal distribution of drugs will not suddenly decide to become Episcopal ministers. They will turn to other criminal enterprises.I am afraid for the future of our country. I mourn our collective lack of fortitude in the face of evil. I mourn that wonderful young man who lies in that cold ground.JLM.

    1. LE

      I grew up in the 70’s and attended a high school where pot was quite prevalent. It was a private school and kids (who were boarding students) living on campus would sneak off to the woods and smoke pot. No parents around and it was liberal quaker.Me? I never even tried it. People said “you might like it” and I thought “yeah that’s the problem”. It was very obvious to me at the time not to go that route. Try socializing and not being part of the crowd. You can’t. Upside is I had plenty of time to do things that I learned that help me now (and helped me start my first business).I got remarried to a younger woman whose parents were big pot heads. (She told me a story of when they had a party one time and she drank, by accident, the bong water). Until I met her I didn’t even know any of the typical “pot” jargon etc.That said I can come up with a few unique reasons why I think this is positive that might surprise people.a) My father growing up was under a lot of stress. As jews we only drank on holidays. Liquor in the house was totally nominal. My feeling is that if he had had a drink when he came home he might have “chilled out” and been a bit nicer to be with. He was a bundle of nerves and suffered health problems because of that. A drink would have helped for sure. Otoh, I have a glass of wine with dinner on most nights. I never got drunk except 1 time at a jewish holiday when I was 13 and that was it. Didn’t drink in college at all. But most people aren’t me and feel good getting drunk. I only needed one time to know it wasn’t for me.b) Remember Caddy Shack? “the world needs ditch diggers”. The people who are going to abuse pot in Colorado and be “mellow” all the time will be the ones who are wiling to perhaps have menial jobs and just deal with whatever life throws at them. And we need those low motivation people!The folks who have brought you the criminal distribution of drugs will not suddenly decide to become Episcopal ministers. They will turn to other criminal enterprises.Agree 100%. This is the thing that people are missing when they compare prohibition during that day and age to drugs now. N=1.Unintended consequences for sure.

      1. JLM

        .Great tale. I don’t mind if they become ditch diggers.I fear they will become wards of the state, unemployed, welfare, disability and I will have to pay for them.I am in favor of the creation of taxpayers.I am opposed to the creation of dependencies.JLM.

        1. Jeff Jones

          It sounds like your concern is motivated more by economic impact to taxpayers vs the well being of young people as you stated earlier. Also if marijuana is a gateway drug then what is the gateway drug that led to marijuana…alcohol?

          1. JLM

            .If you read my earliest comment, I am motivated by love. Love of life and love of the beautiful lives shattered by untimely death.I am not sure I understand the substance of your comment.Of course, kids are going to experiment with every possible bad thing out there.It is our job as adults not to grease the skids toward what we all know is going to be a leavening force against the rush to using even more dangerous drugs.I am against encouraging people — pathetic people really — who cannot enjoy the happiness and love of life without being high to get high.A bit of wine may enhance the pleasure of good food, be a lovely flavor in cooking while marijuana serves only the purpose of getting high.JLM.

          2. LE

            “If it our job as adults not to grease the skids”Agree.Also what can be particular effective is if you brainwash, at an early age, in the other direction.Not sure about your Dad but my dad didn’t so much tell me what I could or couldn’t do but made comments and told stories about people who had chosen the wrong path matter of fact to the tune of “loser”.I remember when I was 8 and we sold our house. The man was at the house signing papers and my dad asked him if he wanted something to drink. The man asked for a ‘drink’ but of course my dad didn’t mean alcohol. So the man excused himself, went to his car, and brought in some alcohol. When he left boy did we hear about that from my dad.Kids learn by what makes their parents happy and unhappy (the brainwashing) more than they will follow a rule. Reason boys like sports – I could go on and on.

          3. JLM

            .My Dad was and is the toughest SOB I have ever met but I never heard him use profanity and never saw him act like that.I did — unbeknownst to him — observe him chew out a soldier who had failed to salute a young officer. It was like watching a potato being peeled.Once he caught me using some profanity and he sat me down and told me clearly that profanity was not the same as being manly or tough. I can remember that lecture like it was yesterday.Funny thing was it was like going to school not like getting an ass chewing. He knew what toughness was and that was not it.He was never one to drink in front of his children. He was a “correct” man and did not waste any time being pals with his children. He was an adult, a parent and a protector of his children.I guess that’s why I love and respect him so much.JLM.

          4. LE

            and did not waste any time being pals with his children. He was an adult, a parent and a protector of his children.Exactly the same.My guess is that if I knew more about history I would find out that that parenting was like that since the beginning of time.For a reason. Because it worked.The funny thing that most parents might not understand is this:You can be tough and be loved at the same time (you certainly prove that point in how you feel about your father).I’m really tough on my stepkids. There is no negotiation I dictate what they should do and don’t try to be their friend at all. If I come down to eat dinner and the TV is on I say “off with the tv” if they complain I say “tough luck go upstairs and read. Now”.I’m allowed to do this by my wife. And if anything it seems to elevate me in their eyes and make them want to please me more.This is probably more unheard of with step parenting than it is with organic kids. Luckily they were pretty young when we got married so the timing (luck factor) was in my favor.

          5. JLM

            .Not to go Freud on you. When my Dad took me fishing, I was going fishing with him. He was not taking me fishing.I used to love to go to the rifle range with him and blast away with an M-1, M-1 carbine. I got unlimited ammunition and he taught me to shoot. In a serious, adult manner.I once lobbied to be able to throw a hand grenade and I was banished to the safety tower for an hour. Dad was not playing any games.JLM.

          6. LE

            At least you got to go fishing. I “schlepped” with my dad on sales appointments. I remember one in particular on Long Island where he told me the department store had a toy department (you remember how you only got a toy a year or something like that, right?). So we get to the store and of course no toy department (only clothing and giftware) where I had to find something to do for what seemed like 3 hours.Agree with the “all about him part”.All this doesn’t bother me one bit. He did what he needed to do and now he is not a burden on me (nor my mother). The other stuff is long forgotten. Suffer, enjoy later.

          7. JamesHRH

            I tell my kids, all the time:I got a job to do here, its called be your parent.I also tell them there are 3 levels of a parent / child relationship:love – you get our thoughts and worry as a defaultrespect – you get that by making certain choices and living life in a certain wayfriendship – we have to get along and have similar interests.They have figured out what the most important piece is, by themselves.

          8. Jeff Jones

            My point was you also appear to be motivated by financial concerns when you state that ‘I will have to pay for them’ and reference welfare, taxpayers and dependencies.

          9. JLM

            .Public policy always impacts the public purse.Who is going to pay for the public policy decisions that are made by both the citizenry and the government?The two Jeffs — Jeff Jones and JLM.When I use the term “I”, I really should say “we”.Bad policy is very, very expensive.This policy with the risk of wholesale drug rehabilitation being funded by the public purse is going to be very expensive.JLM.

          10. JamesHRH

            whereas the state of Colorado TOTALLY does not see this as a cash grab.

          11. snooch

            I have been reading this from afar, and could not help myself after reading (and re-reading and re-reading) your next to last paragraph above. “Pathetic people…” Addicts are not pathetic people JLM. They are sick. They have a chronic disease. Is a type 1 diabetic a pathetic person?I am an experienced clinician who has worked with addicts for more than 20 years and your characterization is obnoxious, offensive, uninformed and dangerous. Shame on you!

          12. JLM

            .Snooch, you read my use of that word wrong.Pathetic also means “vulnerable”. “plaintive”, “forlorn” in the notion of not preying upon one’s vulnerabilities.My comment went not to addicts but to those who are malleable because of their circumstances.The world preys upon folks by suggesting there is a better life if only one had a new car, a shot of Jager or a joint in their hand.There are a great number of folks who will be influenced if society makes available to them substances that are not good for them — cigarette smoking is an example. You cannot advertise cigarettes today like you could in the 60s as an example.The Marlborough Man died of lung cancer.Marijuana is just as bad from the perspective of introducing hot carcinogenic smoke into one’s lungs. A hurdle argument to be sure.Why would anyone want to introduce such a substance into common use without exploring and rationalizing the health implications?JLM.

          13. Juliet Oberding

            What about the children with epilepsy who have been helped by a specific type of marijuana?

          14. JLM

            .Any drug that demonstrates its efficacy when treating any disease should be used in accordance with a doctor’s prescription. PERIODJLM.

          15. bsiscovick

            “A bit of wine may enhance the pleasure of good food, be a lovely flavor in cooking while marijuana serves only the purpose of getting high.”This is naive and borderline offensive.Have you ever listened to music high? Have you ever been to an art gallery high? Have you ever engaged in a deep philosophical discussion high? Have you ever written poetry high?The way you use the term ‘high’ makes it sound juvenile and asinine, when in fact, many use marijuana *exactly* the same way you describe using wine to enhance the flavor of your cooking.

          16. JLM

            .Oh, please. Yes, Santa was stoned when he came down the chimney this year, too.I am in Steamboat Springs skiing. Two days ago the first retail marijuana joint opened for business.Apparently snowboarders are enjoying their sport while high. Very high.The ski patrol and the local emergency room can attest to how great this has been. Not just injuries to the snowboarders but injuries to skiers they have run down and injured.I don’t need to be high to enjoy music, go to an art gallery, engage in a deep philosophical discussion. I am not a poet so I can’t say anything intelligent about poetry.Now that I think about it, maybe those snowboarders are really vacationing poets.The notion that any significant amount of marijuana users are engaged in such specious transcendental behavior seems unlikely.Suggesting otherwise feels like a bit of your pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining.The primary use of marijuana is just getting high. Deal with it.JLM.

          17. Donald E. Foss

            For now, I think cigarettes will be as much a gateway to marihuana as anything else. I know people who still smoke cigarettes regularly to deal with the stress they endure rather than become (or go back to being) a Valium addict or alcoholic. All of these are bad for the person and bad for society.OTOH, I find it quite amusing that we’ve been publicizing the harmful effects if cigarette smoking, while heavily taxing it, limiting its usage and setting age limits to try to prevent the youth from acquiring the habit–and now we’re legalizing marijuana. Who is going to indemnify the marijuana producers?Remember that if Valium is for medical use and almost anyone can get it, then marijuana will will be the same.

          18. pointsnfigures

            I think the gateway is your peer group.

        2. LE

          My wife tells me all sorts of stories of drug seeking patients that try to game her to get a script for painkillers and/or get put on disability. Then there is the morbidly obese who actually need to go on disability.You know what all of this is to me? It’s a “cost of doing business”.In other words the issue is not stamping it out (you won’t) but merely making sure to keep it believe a certain threshold so there is still enough cheddar for the rest of us.

    2. fredwilson

      i could not disagree more with you on this one Jeff. i grew up smoking pot with dozens of kids and not one of them has died, gone to jail, or had their lives wrecked by drugs.however, two of my friends have killed themselves via an alcohol me it’s an open and shut case. weed is safer than wine by a long shot.

      1. JLM

        .You fashion a false choice — both alcohol and marijuana carry with them deadly risks. It is not a case of one or the other, it is BOTH.You may proffer and embrace the proof for alcohol and I have seen and lived the proof for drugs.Both are killers.JLM.

        1. fredwilson

          right. but arguing to keep one illegal is effectively arguing to make the other illegal if you really believe both are killers.

          1. JLM

            .Your logic lacks the pragmatism of reality.Both are pragmatically illegal — alcohol when abused and marijuana except for medically prescribed usage.I think the best policy for the country is to leave the status quo unchanged.Alcohol is not dangerous when used in moderation. It is the definition of moderation which begs for a bit of attention.There is no question they are both killers.BTW, I am in Colo right now. Perhaps I should do some on the ground research?JLM.

          2. LE

            You know the way all of this is going, right?States can only be as honest as their competition.You’ve for sure seen Ed Rendell literally call Leslie Stahl an idiot while he argues that Pennsylvania needed legalized gambling because PA residents were just going to spend that money in another state.The point being that it’s more or less a forgone conclusion regardless of the merits of the argument that every state will want a piece of this action. Much more so than something like gambling which doesn’t have (from what I know) anywhere near the universal appeal.Slowly but surely people will also use it as a crutch to put themselves under more pressure (otherwise they will suffer the consequences that my Dad did by not drinking) that I mentioned. Similar to the way college kids use performance enhancing drugs.It’s game over on this one.

          3. fredwilson

            I can assure you that weed is not a problem when used in moderation. I am proof of that

          4. JLM

            .There are two aspects to illicit marijuana use in the applicable time period.One of them is a DEA Agent named Enrique Camarena who was kidnapped, tortured, dismembered using a chain saw and murdered by one Rafael Caro Quintero.Camarena had identified the Buffalo Ranch marijuana growing facility owned by Quintero and insisted it be raided and destroyed.Quintero was a founder of two Mexican drug cartels — and was just released by the corrupt Mexican government. He had been sentenced to 40 years in 1985.It is said that the relaxation of American marijuana laws contributed to the decision to release Quinitero.The US government has just authorized a $5MM bounty for his capture. The US gov’t doesn’t think this is a small thing.When folks engage in funding illicit drug operations by buying drugs they finance this kind of violence.This is as it has always been.When Boone Pickens buried his grandson and namesake, it was a sixteenth of an inch of safety that had been violated. Nonetheless, he is dead.I am personally pleased that you, Fred, are here on this Earth. I am very sad that that young man is not.JLM.

          5. fredwilson

            Legalize it and this stuff goes away. We should have learned our lesson with prohibition. And to insinuate that my occasional use of weed is the cause of this grisly murder is obnoxious and insulting to me

          6. JLM

            .I certainly did not intend to suggest that your personal behavior was the cause of this typical drug violence incident.It is the collective behavior of the market demand side of the equation in its totality.America is at least as responsible as the suppliers of the drugs. No demand, no necessity for supply.To turn a blind eye — willful blindness — to the drug violence and its results is simply not acceptable if one desires to see and solve the entire problem.The legalization of marijuana simply sends the problem upstream to cocaine, crack, heroin, opium, meth.These guys are not going to become Episcopal ministers.JLM.

          7. JamesHRH

            see other comments here Jeff.

          8. JamesHRH

            Fred, your pot supply chain enforces distribution through violence.You are the end customer.How are you not complicit?You can find it obnoxious and insulting, that does not make untrue.I totally agree that if pot was legal, then the violence would end. Of note in that vein, if I had grown to 6’10’ instead of 6’3″, I would have played college hoops.

          9. fredwilson

            not true. we can make pot legal. and we will. we cannot make you 6’10”

          10. pointsnfigures

            If I smoke enough, I can think I am 6’10”. (Kidding)

          11. JamesHRH

            I don’t think that end users of pot are violent criminals.But, unless you have been buying from some Manhattan supplier who is vertically integrated with his own hydroponics operations, your supply chain uses bloodshed as a management tool.Making pot legal today does not change that you have to live with being connected to that supply chain – however lightly or remotely – for the last 30 years.I live with not pushing myself to be a slow footed, heady, pass first PG for Pete Carril’s 1983&84 NCAA teams @ Princeton.I doubt either of us loses sleep over it, but neither of us can pretend its not true.If you and GG are right in your belief that I will be able to buy a bag of bud like a buy a box of Bud, I hope the unintended consequences are ones we can all live through.

          12. oilburner

            The false and artificial “war on drugs” enforced the distribution through violence, not the end user. Add to your stories of drug cartels all of the wasted $ and lives in Federal prisons, lost jobs, broken families due to possession charges (largely canted towards ethnic minorities) and this artificially manufactured criminal network has done much more harm than good.Can you honestly say the billions (possibly trillions) spent on Drug enforcement from state/local level up to Interpol was the best way to manage what you consider a societal problem of addiction which still happily manifests itself legally through alcohol, shopping and carbohydrates? Are we really better off?

          13. Gotham Gal

            Supply demand always reigns supreme. It is unfortunate how much money and lives lost over this

          14. oilburner

            Supply/demand, opportunity cost and inelasticity. Had we regulated/taxed this market decades ago, not only would we have wasted much less money on artificial criminalization (sure there would still be _some_ costs due to enforcement), but tax _revenues_ could be used for all of the downsides of the “sins” that have been brought forward in this discussion. In other words, the net cost to society would be much less than it is today all the way around; financially, ethically, and lastly without all the legislative energy put towards it, imagine what could have been done in the meantime.And in case you needed more reasoning that as a society we’re wasting taxpayer dollars in order to subjugate our rights, all under the auspices of “morality”, read this:…and you thought it was just NSA spying…

          15. JamesHRH

            I am sure Fred would like your suggestion that we put everything on the table and let people choose their poison.I am pretty sure that meth, coke & heroin would have an startling impact on the mortality rate of teenagers, if we did, however,I am not one for enforcing morality on others. Society is a system. Systems work better when they are structured certain ways. Systems also can and should be tuned for certain performance metrics.Optimally, it seems that society would like to have: stability, protection & freedom (a lot of things fall under those last two, which are in a near total state of conflict).We have mostly opted to say to people that you should not randomly try a panorama of pharma options. They can kill you or totally destroy your life in most cases.We are playing around with the ones that don’t destroy most people or their lives. Putting pot on the wrong side of the line has a lot of unintended consequences.

          16. Andrew Hoydich

            Is marijuana the only product that has questionable beginnings? How many factory workers in the world waste their lives away as part of the effort to clothe us & make our store shelves plentiful? Over-fishing? Rainforest desctruction? Etc?If you want to take the “if you buy it you are supporting the corrupt, twisted people that get the product to you” then I’m pretty sure you’re placing everyone on this blog in a position of guilt.

          17. JamesHRH

            Yes.You are your resume. You are your supply chain. You are connected to everything you are connected too.That’s just the truth of it for all of us.Al Gore is a hypocrite for being the Inconvenient Truth guy while being the Totally Loving the Earth Destroying Convenience of Everything I Use guy.That’s a big oops.Pot smokers are connected to ‘businesspeople’ who use violence as a management tool. Regularly.That’s not a big oops. But its true.You can’t fly the pirate flag and then complain when somebody robs you at gunpoint.

          18. Gotham Gal

            me too

          19. JamesHRH

            Totally false argument, Fred.

          20. pointsnfigures

            Of course, today’s version is much more concentrated than the 1970’s version. I have heard people call it “polio pot” because you can’t really engage in anything after smoking. I don’t use, but messed around with it back in the day.

          21. LE

            to make the other illegal if you really believe both are killers.I guess a man has to know (as Clint Eastwood said) his limitations.There is an infrastructure and demand built up around alcohol that will simply not go away.That infrastructure is why it took, what, 50 years [1] to get rid of smoking which was clearly dangerous. You couldn’t just outlaw it because there were to many people making money off it (think of all the people who made a living as part of that supply chain..)[1] Well anyway maybe not get rid of it but get to the point where we can all go out to eat or fly in a plane and not worry about cigarette smoke.

          22. LukeG

            Prohibition, Part II?

      2. JamesHRH

        Obviously, it is tragic to hear that you have lost friends to addiction.Alcohol is unlikely the root cause of your loss, however.

    3. ErikSchwartz

      The reason marijuana is a gateway drug is you have to buy it illegally. The people who sell it to you want to up sell you to other drugs (to make you a better customer). If you are not getting it from illegal sources the up sell pressure will not be there.

      1. JLM

        .The people who peddle drugs will give it to you for FREE if they think you will try cocaine or heroin or meth.The drug dealers are not stupid. They often give a buyer a “taste” as part of any transaction.The reason why marijuana is a gateway drug is that when your inhibitions are compromised in your intoxicated state, you will do stupid stuff like “trying” heroin.The fact that a dealer has marijuana in one hand and crack, cocaine, heroin and meth in the other is just channels of distribution.JLM.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          That’s exactly my point. If the “dealer” is a regulated retailer this is no longer an issue.

          1. JLM

            .So, you think the Mexican cartels are going out of the marijuana business and the cocaine, crack, heroin and meth business also?They will undercut the “legal” price. Hell, they’ll probably buy it legally in the US and market it like lettuce.Grocers lose money on lettuce to be able to sell tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, etc.Even when the dope head gets it legally, they are still going to look for that next “higher” high. This is why we really don’t need a bunch of folks who are “high” wandering around. They do incredibly stupid things like using progressively harder drugs.Find me a meth addict who did not start with marijuana, please.JLM.

          2. ErikSchwartz

            Find me a meth addict who did not start with alcohol.

          3. JLM

            . I agree more with you than you do with yourself.Marijuana and alcohol abuse are both root causes of much evil in the world.Marijuana is not in competition with alcohol. That is a false choice.As a skeptic of the wisdom of the legalization of marijuana, I am not ergo a defender of alcohol.The results — as you have so rightly indicated — speak for themselves.I am no apologist for the means that get good people into trouble.JLM.

          4. JamesHRH

            What’s your new gateway drug then Eric?

          5. pointsnfigures


        2. bsiscovick

          Completely disagree. It is not the “intoxicated state” that drives someone to try heroin or the like. It is the innate personality of the individual who seeks that sort of ‘high’ – whether as an escape, or an adventure or a thrill. Just because someone who uses heroin has used marijuana in the past does not imply that marijuana use leads to heroin use.Frankly, to compare the impact and experience of marijuana to that of heroin or other ‘hard’ drugs is just classically ill informed. That said, you clearly do no have much personal experience with it so it is impossible to engage in a reasonable debate where you fundamentally do not understand the underlying products and their effects.

          1. JLM

            .Please give me a call when your children are teenagers and tell me again how an intoxicated teenager is not seeking “…an escape, or an adventure or a thrill.”You have a bit to learn on that score but you have a few years to get ready.I have been to more memorial services than I care to remember. Burying lovely children who strayed off the straight and narrow for one second is not a good business.Oh, the things I could tell you about drugs from years before you were a gleam in your Daddy’s eye.I saw it all up close and personal on more continents than you have fingers on your right hand.As a young Army officer I dealt with Red Chinese marijuana in South Korea, Turkish hash in Germany, coca growers in Columbia, etc etc etcThis is not a new game. Your generation did not invent sex or drugs.JLM.

      2. bsiscovick

        100% agree.

    4. jim

      Hmmm. Sounds like being the progeny of an oil billionaire is a gateway drug that leads to destruction. Probably we should ban that pre-condition under Obamacare.

    5. FlavioGomes

      JLM, the thing is, criminalizing it doesn’t seem to be working. It occurs to me that there are so many incarcerated folks as a result of simple possession who would likely lead otherwise relatively normal productive lives.That poor kid, died regardless of the law. There is evidence to suggest that decriminalizing or perhaps even legalizing may reduce use and the negative aspects of a black market.Aside from the bouts of increased creative output and a general peaceful disposition under its influence, I don’t see any real long term practical benefit to Marijuana use other than for medical reasons. In fact, I think it induces a gradual and mild to moderate psychosis in some chronic users.All that said, I would however like to give other forms of “management” a chance to do a better job at helping society improve quality of life as apposed to making marijuana use a crime. A crime with legal penalties that are more ruinous to the individual than pot use could ever be.

    6. Tracey Jackson

      I’m with you here. I know it’s the contrarian position to take in this particular group. But I think it’s an awful idea and we will regret it. Somewhere between criminalization and acceptance is the right place to be. But as the mother of a teen – this worries me greatly. We are sending out all the wrong signals. I appreciate this comment JLM.

      1. Gotham Gal

        I am a mother of 3 teens and it does not concern me one bit.

        1. Tracey Jackson

          I know that. But people do disagree on issues and still respect each other.

          1. Gotham Gal

            But of course.

        2. Juliet Oberding

          With you 100% as a mother of 2 teen boys.

      2. JLM

        .As the parent of two former teenagers I can assure you that the factor of safety in raising teens is about a sixteenth of an inch.I advise prayer. A lot of prayer. Continuous prayer.JLM.

  9. Eric Friedman

    What has been most interesting about this moment in time is that it has brought up marijuana into the conversation. It now comes up in the NYTimes and families are discussing it openly (see the holidays that just passed). Whether you are for it or against it, the important thing is that it is being discussed. Only time will give us the outcome but it has been an interesting sociological view into all generations when this topic comes up.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is no longer in the closet

  10. Mikka Luu

    Someone please give the guy who wrote this book a joint packed with Grade A medical Marijuana . He will surely change his mind! I’m pretty sure he was smoking some very cheap, useless weed to be calling it juvenile. lol

  11. LE

    The tax benefits for each state will be enormousWhat do they call that? I think it would be a regressive tax because it will most certainly (like those bars that seem to be on every corner in poor neighborhoods) end up (like the lottery) taking money from people who in many cases can’t afford it. Another example is slot gambling at the casino.That said you are totally right as far as coming down to (like with taking a prescription medication) an analysis of the pros vs. the cons.You really can’t judge any idea as good or bad in a vacuum. I gave an example in my other comment of how, in theory, my dad might have been less stressed if he had a glass of wine with dinner when he came home. Otoh my inlaws were total potheads and all of their kids really resent them for how they behaved. And have little respect for them.When we go out I always order a drink. When I get to the restaurant it’s noisy and sometimes people sitting by are so loud that I go bonkers. But just the thought that I will order a drink makes it all better and then after I have the drink it’s like I don’t even care anymore.

    1. Ryan Frew

      “it will most certainly end up taking money from people who in many cases can’t afford it”I’m not sure about that, especially to the degree that that statement is true about lotteries or casinos. Theoretically, legalized pot will be cheaper than it is under alternative circumstances. On top of that, a lot of lower income smokers are going to start saving on legal fees and might have an easier time maintaining a job. That last point about the jobs is conjecture. My opinion, though, is based on the idea that people who smoke legally will be the same ones who smoked illegally. If there is a sudden influx of smokers that start following the legalization, these thoughts go out the window.

      1. LE

        Theoretically, legalized pot will be cheaper than it is under alternative circumstances.If we assume that “n” people use pot while illegal I think it’s reasonable to assume that if it is legal more people will use pot.Theoretically, legalized pot will be cheaper than it is under alternative circumstances.True for the people who are both currently using it (not people who begin to use it because it’s legal) and for people who (because it is cheaper) end up using more of it (and spend more dollars on it).This, in fact, is exactly how people behave with energy saving lighting. Because a CFL is only, say, 23 watts people tend to leave it on longer than they would a 100 watt. Not only have I read this but it’s my own behavior and the behavior of others that I have observed. It is also why I own a zillion laptops and desktops. They are just so damn cheap I end up buying more than I really need. This is also why dollars stores work. People buy more of stuff that is cheap and think less about the purchase.On top of that, a lot of lower income smokers are going to start saving on legal fees and might have an easier time maintaining a job.Could be possible.If there is a sudden influx of smokers that start following the legalization, these thoughts go out the window.That is almost certainly what will happen. I think I remember in high school when they were trying to determine whether they should allow smoking (this was the 70’s). The thinking was “some people won’t no matter what, and some people will no matter what. But then there are the people on the fence that will be swayed by it being ok to smoke and will end up smoking”.Human behavior is human behavior. It is usually predictable at least that is what I have found over the years.

        1. Ryan Frew

          Almost definitely true that the # of smokers will increase, although I don’t think it will come as a sudden spike because the reasons a lot of people choose not to smoke are unrelated to the legal/illegal aspect. It will also be interesting to see if those who are buying it, but can’t afford it, are just replacing other substances like alcohol, creating a 0 net difference.

        2. Cam MacRae

          Cannabis usage fell significantly here over the 20 years after personal use was decriminalised (it’s still illegal, but for less than 50g you’ll either get a caution or an on the spot fine — cheaper than overstaying a parking meter).

          1. LE

            IIrc you are in Australia?One thing though. What methodology is used to determine (and who is doing the measuring) that usage fell if it is illegal and consequently there is no “official” tally of usage?In other words who gathers that market information and by what method to determine that usage has actually dropped?(I’m not doubting this is stated somewhere officially (many links on the “norml” site)

          2. Cam MacRae

            The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) conducts the National Drug Strategy Household Survey every 3 years. Data collection is outsourced to Roy Morgan Research. For government purposes analysis is conducted in-house, but the datasets are freely available to academics, social scientists, think-tanks etc.As for the method, it depends on which analysis you ready. Some (white)papers use MAN(C)OVA, but there are plenty of other viable methods.The relationship is not necessarily causal.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I read ur post. We are on the same wave length this week. I wrote this a few days ago

      1. bfeld

        It’s a good wavelength! Amy and I miss you – can’t wait to see y’all at some point in 2014.

        1. Gotham Gal

          For sure

  12. LE

    I know many people who smoke and continue to smoke years after college and as they get older they use it like having a stiff drink at the end of the day or even a glass of wine.I think one thing that you always have to accept in any group of people or society is that there will always be party poopers if the group is large enough.The high school that I attended had only 100 kids per class.My sister’s high school had 1000 kids per class.At the smaller school there were for sure not as many rules and regulations. Both because of the composition of the student body, and also the fact that there were so many less people so that statistically less shitty things happened that they learned from experience they needed to protect against.For example if you have a road in the middle of nowhere you might be able to get away with an 85 mph speed limit. Because it will take years until shitty things happen as a result of excess speed. But if you are in the NY metro area something bad will happen on the 2nd day the limit is raised.So my point is that while it’s unfortunate, you have to accept the fact that not everyone is going to be “responsible” and that rules are put in place to cover the common occurrences that may not be applicable to people who have either skill (with driving) or control (like the people you are referring to).

  13. JamesHRH

    The arguments for all decriminalizing all kinds of things is ‘_______ is not harmful, when done in moderation.’ Put in carbs, alcohol, weed, exercise, whatever, its a false argument to make.I used to joke that ‘I stay away from drugs because I have an addictive personality type’ – it was a statement made out of ignorance. Addictive personalities types don’t care what the abusive substance is – they just want to escape their realities. Legality of the substance is irrelevant to an addict.So, I think your perspective is not the right perspective.I think the right question is, ‘what should be illegal?’, not ‘why should something be illegal’. Or, from a decriminalization standpoint, the question is not ‘what is harmful’ but ‘where is a good place to draw the line that says society does not want you to do this’?Pot is a good line – if pot is something your Dad does when you are 18 and you want to be a badass, where are you going? Nowhere good.People your age – my age as well roughly – should grow up and stop smoking weed not because of what weed is, but what we need it to symbolize. We should also tell our kids not to do it.It seems like you have to declare these things in this argument. I have never been high and don’t think I have missed much. I drink alcohol regularly and would have abused it irregularly in my 20s (lots of hangovers, but no ‘ambulatory blackouts’ etc).

    1. Drew Meyers

      “I have never been high and don’t think I have missed much.”You’ve never tried it to know, yet you don’t think others should smoke it. Why? Frankly, I think it’s f’ing absurd that alcohol is socially okay and pot is not…so many more people have ruined their own lives (& the lives of others) as a result of alcohol.

      1. JamesHRH

        You are correct about alcohol’s damage.It is, of course, used by 10000x more people on a 10000x frequency (all #s drawn out of the air to make a rough point about selecting a single point of reference as an argument).I assume you were not high (or drunk) while reading my argument, but you did not seem to realize that the nature of the substance is not central to my rationale.Society should choose its gateway drug carefully.I don’t need to have smoked pot to hold my position.

        1. FlavioGomes

          “Society should choose its gateway drug carefully.” that’s precisely what legalization will allow.

  14. Charlie Wood

    “turn into”? 😛

  15. FlavioGomes

    10 years after decriminalization drugs, use down by half in Portugal according to Forbes…

  16. Nik Bauman

    I highly recommend a book published last year by one of your local Ivy League neuroscience professors who not only lived a life heavily impacted by drug criminalization but also has made it his life’s work to thoroughly investigate the cognitive and behavioral impacts drugs have on humans.There are certainly a lot of us that feel the pros outweigh the cons – but many of us still don’t have a full grasp of just how bad the cons really are.

  17. LD Eakman

    It’s not always the case that Gotham Gal and I agree strongly on an issue. One coming from Texas and the other NYC. I should acknowledge when she’s exactly right. 🙂

  18. FlavioGomes

    Because its legal

  19. bsiscovick

    Amen.For some wonderful education and entertainment, watch Milton Friedman discussing his views on drug laws. Absolutely fascinating: