Medical Marijuana

weedCalifornia was the first state to establish a medical marijuana program.  In 2010 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a bill reducing the charge of possession of an ounce of weed equal to a traffic misdemeanor.  Also in 2010 Proposition 19 (to regulate, control and tax cannabis) was defeated by 53%.   Proposition 215 which enabled the medical marijuana act eventually established an identity card for users that would be issued through doctors.

What is the most interesting but not surprising is the findings of how much money would be generated if the complete legalization of marijuana was in effect.  That number is $1.3 billion in revenue saving the taxpayers $1 billion a year in prosecution, arrests and imprisonment.   In addition Gov. Brown signed three bills in 2015 creating a system for the oversight of growth, manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana which is aimed directly are bringing that $1.3 billion in revenue.  It has taken 20 years to get to this.  No doubt leaders in this space.

Essentially what has happened in California and I assume other states who have not completely legalized marijuana but have opened up access to be issued a license by a doctor for purchasing weed legally. Bottom line, anyone can get a license.

There has been evidence that many of the weed drug dealers who have now been put out of business have moved into harder drugs which creates a whole new set of issues. I would love to see how much money is generation in tax dollars for the state of California in 2015 alone and how it effected by bottom line of the budget and see the changes after the bills that Gov. Brown signed are totally working which should be around 2018.

I went to get my license.  There are licensed doctors in storefronts that are easy to find.  You fill out paperwork asking you information about why weed would be of help to you.  You get to see the doctor. I saw a man.  He took my blood pressure, listened to my breathing, asked me a few questions if weed helped anxiety, stress etc.  Then the examination was over and he said I passed the text and my license was issued.  It took less than 5 minutes.

The stores are all regulated.  You have to show your drivers license and your issued license from the doctor.  Then you are given access to the backroom where you can purchase weed, hash oil, edibles, accessories etc.  The strains are all different.  If you want something to make you feel mellow they have that.  If you want something that gives you a lot of energy they have that.  If you want something for sleeping they have that.  The choices are endless.  The weed is off the charts giving you the best high you can get.  Regulation has many upsides.

It was a pretty seamless experience.  Impressive actually.  The winners in all of this are patients, activists and actually the California budget.  The losers are the anti-marijuana groups and outlaws.

I am all for what California has accomplished as other states have followed in their footsteps in different ways.  Thrilled to be part of the system.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan

    Interestingly if it ALL became legal, the cost of weed would drop.Also LPs still protect against “investment in regulated substances or derivative companiesAnd the TAM for regulated weed is growing but still small.Genuinely curious if the weed medication helped a lot as opposed to regular allopathic meds. Its actually just a form of naturopathy in the end.

    1. Gotham Gal

      it is just a form of naturopathy in the end. true.

  2. Susan Rubinsky

    My Dad is disabled and can no longer walk. He lives in chronic pain. For many years he was given Oxycontin and he eventually became addicted (he is in recovery now). While not a fan of marijuana for recreational use, my Dad says that marijuana is the only drug he’s ever taken that truly eradicates his pain while simultaneously allowing him to function in day-to-day life. He says he wished he could have had it all those years ago when they gave him Oxycontin instead.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Weed vs Oxy is much better.

  3. Brandon Burns

    In 2015, $5.4 billion of legal marijuana was sold. The three states where it’s legal recreationally, WA, OR and CO, represent 5% of the total U.S. population. If that rate of earnings existed nation wide, that would have been $108 billion in sales. With a 20% tax, almost $22 billion in revenue. That’s 1/3 of what the federal government spends on education in this country, that could be paid for by the taxes coming from legalizing just one, proven-to-be-virtually-harmless product.When folks wise up to that, it’ll be legal everywhere soon after.Soon, blinded by dollar signs, people won’t even be thinking about the drug dealers moving into harder drugs to continue to make a living, and that’s a real problem.

    1. Gotham Gal

      $22b in revenue. Wow

    2. LE

      You are not taking into account that the money that is spent on pot is also money that is not spent on other things for which tax is collected. (Even factoring in money not going the illegal route). So the net number and net economic effect is much smaller.

      1. Brandon Burns

        Well, in that case, getting a “true” calculation is much more complicated, and can be debated ad infinitum, with experts on both sides probably being able to argue that the true number is both more and less than $22bn.But let’s not kill a good thing with that debate. The fact remains that there is a “new” product on the market that 1) can be taxed, 2) no one minds being taxed, and 3) makes a ton of money.Sitting here in legal-weed Oregon, where nothing but good things have happened since the law was passed (hell, even the street sellers are still selling, which is better than them moving onto harder drugs) I can say with confidence that everyone else will see the light soon. 😀

        1. LE

          Look I can fully understand how responsible adults such as yourself (and Joanne & Fred) support pot. However I can’t help but think there are serious unintended consequences from this type of availability of the product (as well as has been pointed out also acknowledge the upside).And of course one downside is the same downside that exists with alcohol. That is the exclusion of people who don’t partake in the product in a social setting. Now you might not see that as a big deal but as someone who couldn’t really socialize that much in college because I didn’t drink, I can tell you that it has an impact on those either on the fence or who choose to abstain. And in a way I will make the argument that this then becomes a form of bias that is similar in some ways to people excluding people of color or women from social settings because they don’t “fit in”.Any validity to my argument? What do you think? Is it a reason to not allow it? Of course not but I think it’s a point not often considered.By the way to me Portland is forever the Hollywood version, that is Portlandia (and all of the birkenstocks..)

          1. Brandon Burns

            I agree with you that the stigma for those who don’t partake, sucks.Though I think that because weed has been illegal for so long, people have a much easier time saying, “No.” Also, maybe because it’s something you smoke, like cigarettes, people have a pretty easy time saying “no” because of that, too.That said, making it legal definitely leads to more people saying “yes.” Who knows how high that number will grow in the future.That also said, I’m not Republican enough to advocate to make it illegal for someone to do something on the grounds that it makes someone else feel uncomfortable. For better or for worse.

          2. LE

            No I don’t mean “saying no”. I never had a problem with that as I don’t succumb to peer pressure and actually that is something that I am quite proud of. (Maybe you can tell by some of my comments that I often don’t care if I am popular (although it would be nice if I was!)).What I mean is if you and your friends are smoking pot and I am not (or drinking) it’s quite hard to have fun when you are high (or drunk). Things aren’t as funny and it can get quite annoying to be around people in that context.You know it took me the longest time to realize that I would like the cocktail hour of a party and have fun as long as I actually had a drink in my hand. Without a small bit of alcohol (when others are drinking or if they are annoying or boring) it’s quite a difficult experience. Make sense?

        2. Gotham Gal

          change always wins.

    3. laurie kalmanson

      add in on the plus column: what is not being spent on prison, and the wasted lives

  4. pointsnfigures

    I am a big proponent of drug legalization. Interestingly Colorado is having some problems-…. When I was in Denver, the center of the city was overrun with Meth Heads. I woke up one morning early and walked out of the AirBnb I was renting and felt a tad unsafe, which is odd for me. I think there is a market for “vintage weed”. From anecdotal evidence, I hear the stuff today is polio pot and wipes people out!

        1. Gotham Gal

          good question.

          1. pointsnfigures

            I’d love to see ads like that instead of viagra ads during the Super Bowl.

  5. Jeff Jones

    Don’t you need a CA driver’s license to get a prescription? Highly recommend this article on Mark Kleiman UCLA Professor of Public Policy and the work he did advising Washington state on the legalization of marijuana.

  6. daryn

    The medical evaluations are a farce. If there’s a reason to be prescribed, for insurance/subsidy, etc., great. But, hopefully more states go the way of Colorado and Washington and make weed a straight up recreational substance regulated akin to alcohol, with no need to prove yourself.Having clean/inspected/regulated weed, especially edibles, is so much better than going to Dave the dealer.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’m with you!

    2. daveschappell

      Don’t drag me into it 😉 Actually, I got a legal prescription from my primary care physician. I then went to the dispensary and they said that was the first time they ever received an actual doctor-issued prescription, and they made me go to one of those ridiculous fake doctors (because they need an actual ID# in their systems that wasn’t on my official prescription). It’s just a wonky fake process. But, all ended up fine… it’s the only thing that I’m going to miss about LA. That, and the sun. And the scenery.

  7. JLM

    .The happy horseshit about marijuana continues unabated or influenced by any real facts. I guess most of it is being promulgated by folks who are high.The price of legal marijuana in every jurisdiction in which it has been legalized is grossly more expensive than illegal weed. One can argue that the high price of legal marijuana makes illegal weed just that much more attractive from a pricing point.As Jeff Bezos says, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Look for Amazon to be delivering weed by drone shortly, no?I own a place in Steamboat Springs and on the day it was legalized there was a line around the block and an illegal marijuana sales and distribution professional was touting his $125/ounce price point v the legal $350-425 with a 30% tax.Where did he get his marijuana? From the excess of the legal medical marijuana production which was limited to 6 plants (only two in bud at a time) per licensed individual. The legalization of marijuana simply shortened his supply chain.The impact on society is far beyond the idea of “unintended consequences” and is serious business when considering injecting hot, burning THC laden gases into one’s lungs, addictive behavior, catastrophic intoxication driven car accidents, and the balance to be drawn between revenues and the increasing cost to the social safety net.Creating a new class of hopelessly stoned Americans — starting younger and younger BTW — will help the Democrats in the short term but the cost to the country may prove very quickly to be unbearable. Allowing our children to get stoned earlier and when their brains are not yet fully formed will create a drag on the social safety net that we will be paying for their entire lives.The potency of marijuana — given natural selection and the path toward full genetic potential — is now approaching heroin in its ability to deliver a quick, slow, short, long, high high. It is not the 1960s seeds and branches.This is pure bud which can deliver a THC content of more than 20% v a historic 3%. This is some very good shit and it already has created some very big problems.…Let me hear your arguments about weed not being a gateway drug as we begin to bury our children. I can give you chapter and verse on that and it isn’t pretty. When your kinds can get weed easily, legally, and smoke with their parents how difficult is it going to be for them to “try” some heroin?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. LE

      I own a place in Steamboat Springs and on the day it was legalized there was a line around the block and an illegal marijuana sales and distribution professional was touting his $125/ounce price point v the legal $350-425 with a 30% tax.Not a pot smoker, never even tried, however Joanne made a point that the pot that she bought is of infinitely higher quality then whatever she would normally buy, right? Is this really good to compare McDonalds grade to Ruth’s Chris or Del Frisco?But your point is taken. The market can now exploit different price points. And the people who start off at McDonalds while in college end up eating with the “classes” later on. Same way people spend money on plenty of luxury goods.

    2. LE

      Creating a new class of hopelessly stoned Americans — starting younger and younger BTW — will help the Democrats in the short term but the cost to the country may prove very quickly to be unbearable. Allowing our children to get stoned earlier and when their brains are not yet fully formed will create a drag on the social safety net that we will be paying for their entire lives.Well you know my theory on all of this. The fact that a certain segment of the population is on “Island time” is good in some ways. Makes them more willing to accept and do shit jobs which of course you need in any economy!My 2nd wife’s parents were “pot heads” when she was growing up. Her father was a NYC teacher in Harlem (got extra pay that way). He used pot to cope with the stress. Her mother did also so she could cope with her father. (Her mother is a teacher now as well). One of the first things I found out about her when we were dating was how they had a party and she drank the bong water. My 2nd wife, to this day has contempt for her parents and what they subjected her to.Her father essentially can’t cope with stress. As with many others he became a teacher to avoid going to Vietnam. (Ironically so did the girl that I dated before I met her..) Years later (afaik they don’t smoke anymore) to me it’s pretty clear how pot has impacted their brains.

    3. LE

      As Jeff Bezos says, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Look for Amazon to be delivering weed by drone shortly, no?So maybe there is a silver lining for kids that can keep away from this. Thinning of the herd of opportunity. We can call this “your high is my opportunity”.In other words if pot impacts your intelligence, competence and coping then in theory if you don’t smoke it you have an advantage over your peers, right? That is what I always felt that my brain works just a tad better because I didn’t mess it up with either drugs or alcohol (never drugs and never drank in college either). I really do feel that way. You know my Dad (and your Dad I assume) was sharp until the day he died. My mom is still alive and is sharp beyond her years. No impact from cigarettes or alcohol (a drink here or there in other words). Also handles stress amazingly well vs. someone whose brain has been altered.

      1. Gotham Gal

        I consider my brain pretty sharp and I have consumed plenty.

        1. LE

          Well you know Obama got to be President and he smoked as well. And there are obviously many accomplished people that smoke pot (or do drugs or whatever). The point is that if you believe it has an impact (and a different impact on everyone) then it might matter.You know I do better on days when I get plenty of sleep vs. days when I had a bad night. And on my worse day I might be better than many people who got a great deal of sleep the night before. However I do recognize that lack of sleep has an impact on my performance.By the way for blood pressure measurement I super super recommend this device which they sell at the Apple store:

  8. Renee MacDonald

    I’m not sure what you need the marijuana for but I hope it is nothing serious and that it helps you and you get well soon.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Purely recreational