Monday, May 12, 2014

Local economy going to pot?

As the economy sputters back to life, it seems counter-intuitive to slow it down.

But, that is what 26 of Oregon's 36 counties and more than 140 cities did when they passed moratoriums against medical marijuana dispensaries.

While Deschutes County commissioners voted for a moratorium, a few dispensaries had already opened in Bend, the county seat.

So, along with craft brewpubs, Bend is now a hub for medical marijuana.

Those in need of weed relief must drive from around the region to Bend in order to fill a prescription. While in Bend, they're likely to shop and dine in the city.

So, Redmond's loss is Bend's gain.

But, this whole medical marijuana movement is really a charade and the last step before statewide legalization, which could come this November.

We've got joints named Bend's Best Buds and and Dr. Jolly's, which belie the legitimacy these establishments want to convey.

 Even health insurance companies won't cover medical marijuana.

But, marijuana does have legitimate medicinal purposes. Like many medicines, though, marijuana has its upsides and its downsides. And, smoking is not really tolerated these days.

The real use of marijuana, though, is recreational. Colorado and Washington legalized it in 2012 and those states haven't gone stir crazy.

But, they do have some problems, which include how to gauge driver impairment due to smoking weed.

Also, banks refuse to work with pot shops because the feds still consider marijuana a banned substance. Of course, this means opportunity exists for a new, intrepid bank to handle the serious cash that flows through all those cannabis stores.

And, Colorado's governor warns other states not to look at a marijuana tax as the way to solve budget problems.

Colorado residents, however, appear to approve of legal weed, according to this poll.

Oregon is poised to legalize marijuana in November after narrowly defeating a similar measure in 2012. This time, Oregon voters appear more likely to legalize pot, according to this poll. 

Afterall, why lose business and young, talented workers to neighboring Washington?

Nationally, marijuana legalization now appears inevitable, pollsters find.

This doesn't mean that everything will be copacetic once legalization occurs.

There will be more addiction, more driving under the influence resulting in more deaths and more social costs.

Just like with alcohol.

But, it's completely hypocritical for society to embrace alcohol and all its consequences while imprisoning and demonizing those who use marijuana.

The local newspaper is now known as The Beer Bulletin for it's almost daily coverage of all things related to the local brewing scene.

It's hard to see that they'll extend similar coverage to marijuana once it becomes legal.

If the new weed measure makes the November ballot, it will likely bring out the youth voter, who tend to vote for Democrats. This means that the meager hopes of GOP candidates for governor and senator are likely to go up in smoke.

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