Monday, September 21, 2009


Hello World


Currently, California is going through a serious economic crisis. There is a 26 billion dollar budget deficit, and the state government just pushed through legislation to make 15 billion in spending cuts in order to close the spending gap. 9 billion dollars of this cut is to come directly from education. The plan is said said to not even fix the crisis, there is still a rising 11.6% unemployment rate and foreclosing homes all over the state. Some economists feel that the spending cuts will actually hurt the economy by making the California recession longer and more severe than it normally would be.

Because of the widespread knowledge of the Cali economic crisis, and the widespread lack of solutions by the state government, Governer Schwarzenegger has decided to enlist the help and ideas of the state's residence. He has created a twitter page where normal people can tweet their ideas about how to help the crisis. The people's overwhelming plan?

Legalize Marijuana.

This blog addresses the effects that the people's plan would have on the state and its economy. As a student of economics, medical Marijuana user and fellow Californian, I have always wondered why the state government would not want to take full advantage of California's largest cash crop. For years Californians have been fighting for legalization, and unlike most Americans, these activists embrace taxation with open arms. So why then is the government still so hesitant? For many years the economy was not on as dire of straights as it is now, and the old federal administration was opposed to the idea and was willing to enforce the federal laws on marijuana throughout California. Now however, the state is squeezing cash from anywhere it can think of, and President Obama has already ended the DEA raids on Marijuana medical clinics. He has also hinted at a lack of federal opposition to a California Legalization movement.

The time for Marijuana activists seems to be coming, and not a moment too soon. They have been screaming for taxation for many years, and are now closer than ever to legalization. There is legislation in Sacramento set for 2010 that will put an alcohol-like legalization on pot. Only those 21 and over will be able to purchase Marijuana and only stores with the correct permits will be able to distribute it. The direct and indrect effects of such legislation would be immediate and outreaching. Hundreds of inmates would be granted their freedom on their non-violent marijuana charges, hemp products would immediately become re-legalized in California, and thousands of taxable jobs would be created by the newly legalized industry. An increase in health-care and medical treatment may result from an increase in Marijuana users but this has yet to be determined.

The overall goal of this blog is to fully explore all of the different sectors of the California state economy that would be effected by legalization and to summarize findings and overall effects that this act could have on the state's people and it's growing economic crisis. The purpose is not to push for legalization, but rather to weigh in all the effects a plan like this would have on California and make conclusions about its feasibility and effectiveness.

Welcome and feel free to provide any comments or insights you may have on the subject.

NORML Profile

While searching for blogs within my area I came across several that spoke on the topic. While most where somewhat dry and purely information based, the one I chose was able to draw an interesting connection between the "Beer Summit" recently held by President Obama intended for better race relations, and the building debate over marijuana legalization.

In, "What This Country Needs Is a Marijuana Summit", Current ( blogger David Bearman, M.D. discusses the need for a Marijuana summit intended to better the health of millions of Americans and generate millions in tax dollars.

Current is a user generated news web page and television station lead by former Vice President Al Gore. The news company films reports all over the world, and they generally have a slightly activist message behind them.

The most interesting thing about the blog to me was how the argument was posed as more of a calling by the American people to hold some form of public discussion on the topic of Marijuana. As opposed to another post reciting health studies and beneficial economic numbers based on legalization and taxation. It is becoming clear that these facts are being dismissed by politicians, either as lacking substantial backing, or are flat out being ignored. Rather than reciting numbers and studies that are already know, this author brings to light the fact that most Americans do know the dangers and benefits behind Marijuana, and are ready to accept them.

The federal government must concur with what we the people already know. In the Obama Transition Team’s own on-line poll, respondents overwhelmingly selected legalizing marijuana as our country’s number one priority. This May, even a Zogby poll commissioned by the conservative O’Leary Report, found 52 percent of American voters in favor and only 37 percent opposed to legalizing (and taxing) marijuana.

If a nation can call on its government to re-legalize alcohol with all its known dangers and no possible health benefits, and the same nation can keep tobacco legal after decades of obvious corrilations to cancer and other negative side effects. Then why is there so much hesitation to openly discuss re-legalizing a substance that could improve the health and lives of millions as well as help to stimulate a weakening economy? With the growing need for strong markets and increasing unemployment, why wouldn't the government want to take full advantage of a multi-million dollar industry that is already in place within its borders? These are the types of questions that are citizens need to be asking their politicians. Dr. Bearman realizes that the people must demand that the politicians work for them. That if the majority of voters agree on a topic, than it is the responsibility of the nation's representatives to further that view. They should not need convincing by they people that they represent about weather the majority is truly correct in their opinion.

Bearman goes on to say that their should be a public discussion between director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, and doctors and researchers on medical marijuana. Making such an event televised would not only show the public that the director of drug control policy is hearing all of the facts, but it would also let the public know expert opinions about the uses of medical marijuana directly from researchers in the field.

In all the blog was quite detailed and it made me think of new ways of looking at the topic rather than simply through health studies and econ figures. Persuading and using the voice of the people is equally as powerful as crunching numbers and reciting facts. Even if the economic benefits are blinding, the people need to scream at their politicians for change in order to see these benefits.

Voice Critique

The Marijuana Addict is a blog written by a self-proclaimed pot addict. While one person's struggles and experiences with marijuana may have little to do with the widespread economic effects on the state, it does bring several things into perspective. It shows some of the less documented psychological effects that long term marijuana use can have on the individual, and it also shows the amount of untaxed, unreported economic activity that one individual can contribute to this growing black market.

The Addict claims to have been an avid smoker for over ten years and now he is using his blog to keep track of his progress and share his experiences and difficulties with others that feel addicted to Mary Jane. Throughout his posts, the addict seems to keep a fairly scientific and straightforward perspective on his progress and observations. However, you can notice a large difference in the tone and candor of his posts on days when his sobriety is going well, and the days when it is not.

In the authors's post entitled "How To Quit Smoking Marijuana", the author discribes what he believes are the three most important factors to being able to quit smoking weed for himself, and for his readers. He structures it well and takes a straight forward approach to explaining how each of the points helped him quit and how they can help others. He posts links to other stop smoking sights and makes sure to post important points in bold. He responds well to the discourse and comments that are developing on his sight by saying things such as,
Many people have discussed how hard it is to quit because that is all their friends do is smoke and drink. I had to step away from some friendships that were based on marijuana and nothing else.
By responding to his readers and sharing his own experiences with people the author helps to foster a conversation with his readers and provide excellent material to comment on. In one of his first relapse posts, the addict describes his desire to not smoke, but also does a good job of pulling you into the situation so that the reader can see just how the relapse occurred.

I slipped up again and smoked last night. This was the first relapse in a long time —-more than 3 weeks. Over the last week I had been drinking more than I normally do - well more than normal when I was smoking pot multiple times per day. I ended up having about 5 beers last night, then smoking a bowl.

I knew I didn’t *want* to smoke weed, but I decided to follow everyone out. I knew I didn’t want to smoke, but I joined the circle. I knew I didn’t want to smoke weed, but I lit up and took a puff, and held that smoke down for what felt like an eternity. The act of smoking was so a release, almost like peeing after holding it too long. For a few brief moments, I enjoyed myself.

It is in these moments of weakness and despair that you get a true sense of the readers voice and persona. The descriptions of these times are more detailed and stylistic, and they show the reader exactly how the author relapsed, as well as convey true sense of the Addict's enjoyment of marijuana.

Many of the posts on this blog are very clear cut and scientific. The Addict uses lists and proper sentence structure in order to most clearly convey the information and reasoning behind it.
However, the posts about his relapses (possibly written while high) have a much more poetic approach to them. He really wants to bring you into the mindset that he was in when he decided to smoke. Then, for a brief moment, he explains the enjoyment of the high, just before a lengthy description of his crushing guilt and week-long weed benders to follow the relapse. The writer is engaging, articulate, and really shows how to change the voice of the writer depending on the situation or the thoughts and emotions that they would like to evoke in the reader.

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