CNN Non-Sequitor Of The Year

CNN has just finished airing an interesting piece on a proposal to de- criminalize the sale and use of marijuana in California; under the proposal, it’d be taxed and regulated like tobacco.

 The timing might be perfect for this. There’s already broad support for decriminalizationin California; this is the state where you can tell your doctor that you have athlete’s foot and walk out with a dispensary prescription for pot.

 (“It’s the sort of occasional itching that can only be relieved by getting stoned in epic fashion, doc.” Uh-huh. I bet this guy stole a handicapped spot from a cancer patient at the dispensary, too.)

 And California’s titanic fiscal crisis both creates a desire to get stoned and an open mind regarding a move that woyld bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

 Reactions from both the Governator and dispensaries were interesting. I’ve heard enough politicians speak to know that Arnold’s “Let’s look at this carefully” statement is a signal that he’s ok with this and would sign the bill. A fellow who runs a dispensary welcomed taxation because “that’s something that legitimate mainstream businesses do.” That is, it could go a long way towards changing public perception of a marijuana seller, possibly bumping it up a few notches above “this guy with a van parked just outside the high school.”

 All in all, a nice piece. But I’m posting about the ending. As usual, the piece ended with a pitch to discuss this story using CNN’s online presences.

 “Every time we do a story on marijuana,” the anchor said, “Twitter lights up.”

 Then he paused, a pained expression of “I should have thought that one through first” flashed across his face, and then he moved smoothly to the next story.

Posted via email from ihnatko’s posterous

8 thoughts on “CNN Non-Sequitor Of The Year

  1. droughtquake

    It’s probably the only tax the republicans would be willing to raise. There isn’t really anything left to cut except Ahnold’s ego.

  2. vectr

    I have to chuckle at the proposition that California is going to de-criminalize pot because the council coffers have run dry.

    De-criminalizing makes perfect sense, because it brings law back in step with reality. Many (most?) people have “toked on a spliff when they were young” or still smoke to this day without directly harming others or their property. They shouldn’t be regarded as criminals.

    The next step… turning it into a taxable/regulated industry really is a pipe dream.

    And if the argument is “a taxable/regulated industry is preferable to all those actual criminal dealers running around making money and driving in their bentleys”… again, I think the laws need to get back in step with reality in other areas.

  3. vectr

    ps. They way the end of your post neutered further discussion (consciously or not) is brilliant. Next story!

  4. droughtquake

    The Bay Area’s KCBS 740 AM will be broadcasting an In Depth report on the legalization of Marijuana on Sunday at 8:30 (am & pm). A podcast will be available here:

    The guests will be Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (Pro) and USC Prof. Joel Hay (Con)

    Oakland voters have already approved a Proposition to tax Medical Marijuana Clubs.

  5. Ihnatko Post author

    @Mike – Good question. But I suppose you could say the same about alcohol. Law enforcement doesn’t care about people brewing beer in their homes, so long as it’s for their own consumption. And I bet that if the average pot smoker had a choice between having to grow and prepare it himself and just driving fifteen minutes and buying a package of stuff ready-to-go, they’d take the easy route.

  6. Ihnatko Post author

    @vectr – I’m not saying that they’re decriminalizing it because of the economy. I’m saying that I think the people of California are disposed towards legalization and that the idea of additional tax revenue is the sort of boost that’ll sway folks who either don’t care or are on the fence.

    It’s kind of how same-sex marriage happened in Massachusetts. I think it would have failed if it had been a referendum issue, but when the state supreme court said “Nuh-huh: the Mass. constitution says ‘equal rights for all’ Start issuing licenses” it was discovered that nobody really opposed it.

    Further, California could lead the nation in legalization (or at least decriminalization). Massachusetts removed one of the biggest weapons that anti-same sex marriage advocates had: fear of the unknown. Gays married in the Land of the Cod, and the Earth didn’t plunge into the Sun.

    Never smoked grass myself. Never had the slightest inclination, chiefly because I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t become the most irritating bore when they got high. I think it’s a bad choice. But if it were controlled like alcohol or tobacco, I don’t think I could oppose its legal sale.

  7. Mike

    for the sake of Cali’s economy I hope you’re right. But I do think the alcohol comparison works – its like comparing apple pies to oranges. One is a complicated cooking process that takes a lot of care to do well. The other, you just pluck and partake. And the current users are in the habit of growing their own, or buying from a friend who does. Maybe in colder climates like New England, where seasonal agricultural demands would dictate a more formal method of supply and demand, taxes would be relevant. But in California, the stuff grows like a weed. And to the main point, I don’t see it helping their tax issue at all.
    And I’m now suddenly hungry for some apple pie!

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