|The estate of Mr. Peter McIntosh is reportedly in talks with the State of Washington regarding advertising, Colorado having already inked a deal with the estate of John Denver.|
Incidentally, the big media news--John (Deutschendorf) Denver fans, every one of 'em, now that Hunter Thompson is gone--all chimed in with "Rocky Mountain High" repartee, missing the much cooler Walsh song for the most part, and coming up empty for Washington. Me too, to be honest. [Although I do think that when it comes time to promote Amsterdam on the Puget, we might want to talk with the Hendrix family about licensing "Are You Experienced?" (wink-wink) for the tourism campaign.]
|Smoke pot and you could be this cool!|
But the rest of the country isn't worried about NW stoners having to go to the man to get their weed. A lot of them are plain envious. I was in Oregon this week, and kept hearing people talking about it approvingly, from the guitar duo performing at a brewpub (not such a surprise, even though they kinda had narc haircuts) to a couple of 50-something women. Oregon got their own vote on the subject, and failed, making many of its people green with envy when they gaze across the river.
One thing that wagging tongues say is that ending reefer Prohibition should tamp down the madness that goes with it. Legal products don't require gangsters or cartels, the logic goes. Unfortunately, we left it illegal for so long that said criminals are entrenched and may decide to corner the legal market (or at least lobby to outsource production) or branch out into other criminal lines of work, like expanding the kidnapping business into US territory. Who knows?
So I guess that's another reason I look at this economically; it's more predictable. Washington and Colorado, as early adopters, have a head start on the money to be made by honest citizens (as well as corporations). Washington's initiative was supposedly crafted to avoid any hint of interstate commerce or anything that would make the feds clamp down,...other than the "We just legalized a Schedule 1 drug prohibited by federal law," aspect, of course.
But until the clampdown those nice ladies from Oregonian might pay us a visit. There is a sizable 'respectable underground' in this country that would like to smoke pot without worrying about it, and I suspect that there will a pronounced up-tick in people planning trips here to, uh, go salmon fishing, or sailing, or skiing, or hiking, or all those other things that are so fun to do while stoned.
Both Colorado and Washington have outdoors-oriented tourism sectors, which are a good fit with ganja tourism, but other businesses should gain as well. The Seattle music scene stands to become appreciated once more. Excellent craft breweries, wineries, and coffee houses provide models for profitable new revenue streams. Both states boast, I am sure, goodly numbers of professionals who grow very high quality product, as well as legal but struggling farmers who may do very well turning out mass quantities of commodity pot. It will be very interesting to see what niches and markets emerge as hidden talents emerge from the shadows.
So for the time being, only a couple of states have legalized this extremely popular, US-made, un-subsidized, herb. Even if they do not become tourism magnets, Colorado and Washington stand to gain by replacing court and incarceration expenditures with tax and fee revenue. I think there are 15 or so states with legalized 'medical' marijuana, as WA and CO had settled for until this week. [To all the critics who said that was just a sneaky way to legalize pot for recreation, who warned that this medicine was a gateway drug to, uh, well just to more pot--you were right!] The point is that Washington and Colorado might want to consolidate their positions before other states jump on the bandwagon.
Speaking of which, there's always the possibility of national action. I would think that the Republicans in the US House of Representatives would take notice of what looks like a win-win:
- Legalized pot could be taxed, and the Speaker could act like it's not really a new tax
- (And besides, it would be a greater burden on liberals than on the GOP, as long as you're not counting the wastrel scions)
- Supporting legalization might just bring the Libertarians back into the fold
- It might just work to have liberals lazy and happy
- In 4-6 years the GOP could claim credit for the whole idea if it works.