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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Colorado's dangerous experiment


Depending on who you ask, marijuana in Colorado seems to be a big success. To the stores that are nearly or already completely sold out, legal pot is the greatest thing since ... well, actually, I can't think of anything. To the state, salivating over its estimated tax receipts, it's a triumph to be savored! And to the people who wander curiously into the pot stores—most of whom have probably never smoked pot before—it is no doubt strange exciting and exotic! However, for those of us who know better, it's the sad slow start of a slow-motion train-wreck, where the engineer driving the train is asleep at the controls and the passengers are having the time of their lives.

I won't need to do any research for this post. I know just about everything there is to know about illegal marijuana, and so I also know what the results of this dangerous experiment are going to be. It seems as though America the collective—as controlled by the 53% who don't pay any income-taxes—has charted a deadly course through all sorts of dangerous experiments. As gay marriages are celebrated throughout the land—not with a glass of champagne but with a doobie—it is all of us who will be the ones left to experience the full results, as well as the side-effects of this horti-cultural folly.

The clamor of pot-heads throughout the realm has been unceasing over the decades. These people want to convince everyone that marijuana is safe compared to all the harder drugs, and even as compared with alcohol. Whatever. Go peddle that line of b.s. to somebody who's a little more naive than yours truly. I was a pot-head for more than a decade. But even more important, I grew up as a boy and then as an adolescent watching the effects of marijuana on my uncle, and my uncle-in-law and all their friends. Stoners and getting stoned was what they did, all they did. Everything else was secondary. My uncle dropped out of college. My uncle-in-law was a fairly talented guitarist and according to my grandmother—who was a retired 9th grade English grammar teacher—he was also a certified genius. Well, you couldn't tell it by me.

What is marijuana's greatest danger? You'll hear various scare stories from various experimenters and pot-dilettantes, but for those of us with real experience—those of us who finally escaped its languorous lethargic carefree trap—the greatest danger, the society killing danger of marijuana is that it destroys the will. It removes almost every bit of self-motivation from a person. We are all required by custom, by necessity, by honor, by creed, perhaps even by coincidence to perform various tasks, learn various facts, attend various events, and finally—and most important—pay various debts. A pot-head would rather get high than do any of that stuff, but worse, the pot-head probably will get high rather than do any of that stuff.

Comparing alcohol to marijuana in any meaningful way is doomed to failure, but for those of you who aren't aware of the differences, I'll go into them briefly and then discuss why these differences are so important.

First of all people can't grow alcohol like they can marijuana. I can't stress that singular difference enough. The manufacture of alcohol is difficult. It requires specialized knowledge and expensive equipment. If you do it wrong all your time and money will be poured—quite literally—right down the drain. Furthermore, there's a store on every corner that sells some form of alcohol and there's probably even a liquor store within a mile or two of your house. Alcohol is cheap and comes in convenient cans and bottles that take half-a-second to open. The reason people don't make their own alcohol is because making it is more expensive than just buying it.

Now, it doesn't really need to be said, but I'll say it anyway. Planting a seed in some dirt and watching it grow doesn't take much know how, much money, much effort, much time or trouble. Furthermore because both the legal and the illegal price of marijuana is so absurdly exorbitant, why wouldn't everyone who wants to smoke pot just grow their own?

At this point I'm going to do a little thought experiment. Coloradans are allowed six plants per household. Perhaps the rules of this new Colorado law define what exactly one plant is in some absolutely unambiguous way, but allow me to muddy this—no-doubt—crystal clear water just a little bit. The most important thing to understand is that the connoisseur pot-grower's recommended method of manufacture is known as cloning. You take a small cutting of a mature plant and encourage that cutting to grow roots of its own. This in effect creates a tiny duplicate of the original plant. This cutting has the same genetic blueprint as its parent—in effect they are still the same plant, but with separate root systems. A marijuana plant is an annual plant. As the seasons change and autumn begins, the marijuana plant flowers or buds. The buds are prized for their THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. With an indoor plant, you can adjust the light cycle using curtains or light barriers to cause one part of the plant to bud, while at the same time leaving the rest of the plant in full artificial daylight 24-7—and growing like a proverbial weed, might I add.

A truly imaginative marijuana aficionado could use the techniques described above to craft an elaborate six-plant arboretum with that days harvest ripening on the vine so-to-speak. Imagine a life-sized sea-turtle Chia Pet seeded with a thousand clones. This particular formation would resemble a huge round shrubbery, and who is to say whether this genetically homogeneous artistically rendered vegetative sculpture is one plant or one-thousand?

How will the state make money on something so easy to grow? How will the state regulate marijuana consumption by adults and especially by those under the legal age when pot gardens are ubiquitous in better homes and gardens? How will the marijuana commissaries turn a profit when neighbors feel comfortable borrowing an ounce of pot like Ms. Mary Jane might borrow a stick of butter?

Furthermore, why on earth will the people of this state bother to do anything at all, when they can instead spend the day sitting in front of the television stoned out of their mind while munching on their munchies that they paid for with a Colorado EBT card?

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