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Cannabis growing

For years I’ve been saying that legalizing marijuana so we can “tax the stuff” and put the money to good use was a really bad idea.  That’s not to say that marijuana should be prohibited. It shouldn’t.  That is to say, however, its legalization shouldn’t be championed by people claiming the extra tax revenue would solve the world’s problems.

Illinois passed a law for limited legal use of marijuana over a year ago. Of course, that means absolutely nothing has changed. In Illinois, there’s a long, twisty, road between passed laws and reality.  When it comes to medical marijuana here, that long road involves over-regulated permitting, licensing bureaucracy and, most importantly, a lot of doing absolutely nothing.  That’s all ok, though, because we’re only hurting cancer patients. No need to rush!

My belief that tax revenue from cannabis sales won’t amount to much revenue is based on some pretty simple math:  Take the average cost of a bag of weed on the street- It’s not much.  Whether it’s coming up from Mexico, or being grown in the open in Hebron it’s not hard to find at rates that high school kids working minimum-wage jobs can afford.  When prices are too high, people just grow it in their basement or hall closets. It’s not tough.

Because of this, market prices are set fairly low.

Enter legalized marijuana.  Especially if you’re doing it like Illinois is pretending to do it, you’re taking the typical cost to grow, package and sell cannabis and adding on all the costs associated with regulated sales (labeling, licenses, etc.). Plus, you’re adding that all-important sales tax that the public can’t wait to spend on other things.

If that sounds like insignificant costs, you’re not very familiar with Illinois-style government. The estimated costs to open a dispensary are near a half-million dollars, which include $400,000 in liquid assets and a $60,000 permit fee.  That doesn’t include any of the costs necessary to your grow operation (industrial space, lighting ventilation, etc).

When you add all of that in, the costs quickly become… markedly more than what you can currently buy the product for illegally.  When regulated like this, legalized marijuana will always have a thriving black market (or, at least, a fairly grey one) reducing the number of taxable sales.

Think I’m wrong? Then why are tax revenues from cannabis sales in Colorado well below anybody’s expectations?  Keep in mind that Colorado already allows recreational use of the drug, so it can be sold to a much larger user base.

So what? Exactly. So What.  To argue for the legalization of marijuana based on a tax-to-spend argument is a very dangerous way to go. If the numbers don’t pan out and the “profit” to the state isn’t as promised, the justification for the legalization is lost.

The better argument is the obvious one- Marijuana is not as harmful as all sorts of other legal substances.  The government shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to put in their bodies, especially when it won’t be consistent.

So, just legalize cannabis, already. And, don’t wait. If we legalize it in Illinois today, it might actually be legal by 2020.

Ferguson Protests

Much has been made of these protests lately.  Starting with non-indictment for that “incident” (that’s me mocking the way police talk, by the way) in Ferguson, Mo and carrying over into the protests reignited by handling of the police “encounter” (more mockery) of Eric Garner.  I’m loving it.

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Christy Mack Wikipedia

How to get the worst possible sentence… as illustrated by “War Machine”.

“War Machine” seems to be doing everything he can to make sure he’s not only convicted, but locked up for a long, long time. He’s got to be driving his lawyer nuts.  This is a classic case of how just about everything you do can and will affect what happens in court.
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Screenshot from 2014-11-17 11:11:48

I’m working on an appeal.  The case was major- with the defendant sitting on a $950,000 bond (meaning, in Illinois, he has to post $95,000). There was a bond reduction hearing because just about nobody sitting on a $95,000 bond can pay that, and the statute says the amount should be only one to reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance at court. Keep Reading →

Brittany Maynard on her wedding day

A few posts back I wrote about Brittany Maynard, her brain cancer, and her choice to die with dignity.  Of course, she won’t be making that choice in Illinois- we like laws and regulations almost as much as we like imprisoned lawmakers.

She’s released another video. If you’re not aware, she had originally set this weekend as the date to pass on under her own terms.  This video it tough to watch.  She seems to imply at the beginning that the date may change, although that seems less likely the further you watch. Keep Reading →

Light the tree, set off the fireworks and pass out the candy… it’s Columbus Day in America!  Today is more than just the day we get to watch Bears/Lions on Monday Night Football.  In Canada, of course, they mistakenly call today Canadian Thanksgiving.  Although, we don’t really care what they’re doing up in America’s Hat.  As I’ve already explained, Canada is backwards.  I guess this Thanksgiving/Columbus day mix-up is just Exhibit #2 to that effect. Keep Reading →

Brittany Maynard on her wedding day

Update: 10/30/14- Brittany has a new video out. You can find it here with less commentary than appears in this post. Although, there is still some commentary… because Illinois’ regulation of death is still nonsense.

Isn’t there some sort of saying about how dreams do come true? Maybe not right away, but eventually? Sadly, I think that today is “eventually.”

Back in 2011 I wrote a moderately sarcastic (for me) post about what I wanted to see out of the world in 2012.  Titled, “A look ahead to 2012: How about less Lindsay Lohan (or Sam Hurd) and more physician assisted suicide.”  The post was aimed at mocking the recent crime news and wishing for a return to when there were more pressing news stories of public concern.  It was a smashing success that earned three “likes” on facebook and one twitter mention.  The crush of publicity was hard to live with, but I managed.
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Earlier this week somebody forwarded me the Economist article on eliminating plea bargaining.  Like most mainstream suggestions on how to “fix” the system I ignored it because… well, because I don’t care what the Economist has to say about criminal law.  I don’t think that’s unreasonable.
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Police k9 by the Sheriff's

Look like I missed a great opportunity to learn a little about the next Kane County Sheriff last night. According to the Kane County Chronicle, there was a “forum” that covered all sorts of interesting stuff.  Compelling topics like who was hired by who’s dad to be a deputy in the Sheriff’s Office in the 1970’s, and how many degrees everybody has:

Each touted their advanced degrees and extensive experience as reasons why they should be sheriff – but also exchanged a few barbs.
Kramer’s father George Kramer was sheriff from 1978 to 1986 and hired him in 1979, giving him his start at the sheriff’s office. 
Kramer said he was one of 12 who passed the test and all were hired. 
“We both talked about our fathers who were previously in law enforcement. At the end of the day, they are not running for Kane County Sheriff,” Mayes said. 
“We talk about master’s degrees – I could make as compelling an argument about experience,” he said. “A degree without experience is nothing. But experience with a degree really allows you be able to work and continue moving forward.”

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Question_mark_(black_on_white) (1)

When I think of local papers who don’t care about actually “reporting” local court news but would rather cut-and-paste from State’s Attorney press releases, I don’t normally think of the Daily Herald.  They’re doing everything they can to change that, though.  When catching up on my local crime news today, I first came across this article about a man in Geneva who, the paper says, admit to some fairly serious sex crimes and underage porn charges:

The Daily Herald article:

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