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posted by martyb on Monday December 28 2020, @09:09AM   Printer-friendly

How state marijuana legalization became a boon for corruption

In the past decade, 15 states have legalized a regulated marijuana market for adults over 21, and another 17 have legalized medical marijuana. But in their rush to limit the numbers of licensed vendors and give local municipalities control of where to locate dispensaries, they created something else: A market for local corruption.

Almost all the states that legalized pot either require the approval of local officials – as in Massachusetts -- or impose a statewide limit on the number of licenses, chosen by a politically appointed oversight board, or both. These practices effectively put million-dollar decisions in the hands of relatively small-time political figures – the mayors and councilors of small towns and cities, along with the friends and supporters of politicians who appoint them to boards. And these strictures have given rise to the exact type of corruption that got [Jasiel] Correia in trouble with federal prosecutors. They have also created a culture in which would-be cannabis entrepreneurs feel obliged to make large campaign contributions or hire politically connected lobbyists.

For some entrepreneurs, the payments can seem worth the ticket to cannabis riches.

For some politicians, the lure of a bribe or favor can be irresistible.

[...] It's not just local officials. Allegations of corruption have reached the state level in numerous marijuana programs, especially ones in which a small group of commissioners are charged with dispensing limited numbers of licenses. Former Maryland state Del. Cheryl Glenn was sentenced to two years in prison in July for taking bribes in exchange for introducing and voting on legislation to benefit medical marijuana companies. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's administration is the target of law enforcement and legislative probes into the rollout of its medical marijuana program.


Original Submission

Related Stories

California Pot Industry Facing 'Extinction Event' 19 comments

Industry insiders are warning that hundreds of pot shops could go out of business this year:

California's pot industry could be on the verge of an "extinction event," with pot shops going out of business as they miss tax payments and sink under millions of dollars of debt.

Debt problems have plagued the industry for years — a 2022 report estimated that the industry was collectively sitting on over $600 million in debt — but a change in tax law that took effect this year has stakeholders worried the mounting debt bubble will finally become fatal. A San Francisco politician introduced a law this year in the state legislature that would crack down on pot businesses that don't pay their debts.

State law recently shifted the burden for paying cannabis excise taxes from distributors to retailers, with the first tax payments due May 1. Retailers have historically had the most trouble paying their bills, and it appears that many shops lack the cash to pay their state excise taxes, according to new state tax data obtained by SFGATE.

Over 13% of California's retailers, or 265 pot shops, failed to make any tax payment by the May 1 deadline, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Those businesses are now facing a 50% penalty on the taxes they owe, which could be a death blow to many shops.

[...] The entire cannabis supply chain has faced a chronic debt problem: Farmers report never getting paid for thousands of dollars in product, distributors say retailers don't pay them and have started blacklisting some shops, and even the federal government is getting stiffed. An analysis done last fall by Green Market Report found that 10 of the largest pot companies in the country owed over $500 million combined in unpaid taxes.

Related: How State Cannabis Legalization Became a Boon for Corruption


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:02AM (49 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:02AM (#1091966)

    It's only wrong if it's cannabis related, but it's perfectly fine for cable TV/internet franchises, waste management contracts and other services/corporations that require local/state approval?

    Does that about cover it? Please.

    It shouldn't matter what the underlying economic activity might be. Anyone taking a bribe or a kickback needs to go to PMITA prison and be banned from political office. Full stop.

    This kind of thing is nothing new [wikipedia.org].

    Don't want corruption in your local government? Don't elect corrupt politicians, and if you do, make sure to throw the book at them to discourage others.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Monday December 28 2020, @10:23AM (27 children)

      by bradley13 (3053) on Monday December 28 2020, @10:23AM (#1091971) Homepage Journal

      Exactly right. Trying to tie corruption to cannabis is just waving a flag for the War-on-Drugs advocates. Fact is: corruption is wrong, and everywhere the government has regulatory authority, there is a risk of corruption.

      It isn't just local politicians. The higher up the food chain you go, the more...impressive the corruption becomes. Look at NASA and the SLS: Cost-plus contracts to develop a system that is now massively late, massively over budget, and in no danger of being finished any time soon. It's all about spreading out those yummy federal dollars, some of which conveniently find their way back into the pockets of the responsible Congresscritters.

      Be sure that there are also plenty of federal bureaucrats on the take, directly or indirectly. How many former government bureaucrats now have cushy, well-paid jobs at Lockheed/Boeing? If you are O-6/GS-15 or higher, working with the big contractors, of course there is a job waiting for you when you leave government service. It is understood, of course, that you will help keep the money flowing in the meantime.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:50AM (25 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:50AM (#1091976)

        Congresscritters get less than $200,000 per year. That's not even FAANG software developer pay, despite greater power and responsibility. When you think they should be paid less because they are awful people, just remember that low pay attracts corruption and thus gives us awful people.

        It's easier to compare numbers with the president. He gets about $400,000 per year. That is less than 0.1% of what Elon Musk gets. We simply aren't paying the market rate for somebody qualified to do the job, not counting corruption. Note that Elon Musk doesn't control tariffs, nuclear weapons, millions of employees, and federal regulations that affect the entire economy. Looking at the S&P 500 companies, the average CEO pay is $16,000,000. That is 40 times what the US president gets.

        Little countries like Ireland and Switzerland pay more. If you adjust for GDP, every country in the world pays more. (for those with GDP data available, not counting the Vatican) The USA is literally at the bottom.

        Singapore gets it right. Pay is based on the median of the nation's 1000 highest earners. (those represent the alternate employment for somebody of that skill level)

        You can wish for a selfless volunteer, but that isn't reality. Lots of terrible people will gladly pretend to be living on the low pay while their family members get miraculous investments and do-nothing jobs. Sometimes those family members even provide the "selfless volunteer" with a little financial help, like a 50% cut, but that's just family helping family.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:50AM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:50AM (#1091986)

          got to add in their lifetime benefits, even if serving a single erm.

          still the scale should be tipped the other way. no individual is worth ten plus million in salary.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:09PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:09PM (#1091990)

            You say "no individual is worth ten plus million in salary", but who are you to judge and why do you care? Cutting pay due to envy/jealousy doesn't make corruption go away.

            To me, getting a non-corrupt member of congress is worth ten plus million in salary. That is value to me. There is no point judging the value of the individual who might be the member of congress. I want to outbid corporations so that I have a hope of getting somebody who intends to be non-corrupt. If that takes $200,000,000 per year for a senator, so be it. That is a small price to pay for non-corrupt government.

            Let's do $200,000,000 for senators, $45,000,000 for the house representatives, $2,000,000,000 for supreme court justices, $20,000,000,000 for the president, and $300,000,000 for the VP.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:55PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:55PM (#1092131)

              I want to outbid corporations

              That bidding metaphor relies on the premise that only the one who gets the goods pays.
              Since your "bid" is coming out of your taxes no matter whether you get my loyalty or not, why wouldn't I take the salary AND sell my loyalty to the corps anyway?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:43PM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:43PM (#1092003)

            You have to remember that fiat currency is not something finite. We can, and do, make as much as we need. As long as the bottom keeps rising, the top doesn't matter. When the top rises and the bottom falls, proportionate measures need to be taken.

            • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday December 28 2020, @05:40PM (1 child)

              by mhajicek (51) on Monday December 28 2020, @05:40PM (#1092103)

              Double the number of dollars in circulation and you halve the value of each. It's zero sum.

              --
              The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @05:41AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @05:41AM (#1092372)

                The key is "in circulation". Smart rich people don't tend to put much money into circulation, they invest it (and what is the effect of investing in government bonds on monetary value?). This, combined with a significant lag in terms of inflationary effects, makes increasing the money supply not a big deal. A few hundred million in salaries wouldn't even be a rounding error in terms of GDP.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Monday December 28 2020, @12:38PM (4 children)

          by bradley13 (3053) on Monday December 28 2020, @12:38PM (#1092001) Homepage Journal

          Must be a nice world you live in, where 200k is the average pay for a software developer. According to Glassdoor, the US average is around 77k. If you're getting $200k, you are either very senior, living somewhere very expensive, or doing very well for yourself. Or some combination of those.

          As for members of Congress, they receive $174k, plus expenses, plus free medical care, plus lots of other benefits. You aren't supposed to go into Congress with the goal of massive wealth. The fact that entering Congress virtually guarantees that you will be a millionaire in a few years? That is a sign of deeply embedded corruption.

          Little countries like Ireland and Switzerland pay more.

          I'm Swiss, and this is definitely not true. The pay depends a bit on how many days the Parliament meets and how many committees you are on, but on average (including expenses) the salary ranges from CHF 130k to CHF 150k [www.ch.ch]. The typical Swiss form of corruption: most members of parliament just happen to be offered board positions in companies. The interests of those companies - purely coincidentally - happen to align with the positions put forth by the parliamentarians.

          Your thesis: pay them more, and this stuff won't happen. Not going to help, because you underestimate human greed. People don't care how much some anonymous person is earning - they compare themselves to the person sitting next to them. This is well-established in psychology. Multiply salaries in Parliament/Congress by a factor of 10, and they will still seek out additional sources of income, to put one up on the person sitting across from them. In fact, you may make the situation worse: snagging an extra $50k on top of a $174k salary is significant, but on top of a $1 million salary it's peanuts - they'll want more.

          tl;dr: Politics ought to be public service, not a road to riches. The fact that it is a road to riches, is a serious problem. One that we ought to seriously crack down on.

          --
          Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:59PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @12:59PM (#1092008)

            Rotationally representative direct democracy is the best solution to corruption IMO. A large number of randomly selected citizens are "gathered" for every step in the legislative process and vote on the proposals. Expert advisors certainly could be corrupted, but this would be much more easily uncovered and punished than corruption by elected officials, as there would be far greater legislative interest in seeing these crimes uncovered. This is still vulnerable to media manipulation though, which may just be an unsolvable issue for social animals. Maybe putting extremely tight anti-trust regulations on media companies?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @03:57PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @03:57PM (#1092054)

            Note that he didn't say "average pay". He said FAANG pay. He's not far off the mark.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:25PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:25PM (#1092096)

            How can it not be a road to riches? If you direct $B of public money towards your favorite companies then step into a board-level position making $50k/mo for a 1hr phone chat every now and again.

            It's insane to pay politicians so little. We have all but ensured that ONLY millionaires get elected to represent us. The President didn't even need his $400k salary - fuck that. The politicians need to depend on the same dog food they shovels into the swill bowl for the rest of us. Fuck living in gated communities. Fuck private security. Fuck living off your (inherited) capital gains.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:10PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:10PM (#1092193)

            Note the role change the second paragraph: "It's easier to compare numbers with the president."

            When comparing pay, be aware that some countries have one leader, while others have two. If the "head of state" is not the same as the "head of government", add them together.

            Switzerland's head of state is the President. He gets $507,000.

            Switzerland's head of government is the Federal Council. He gets $495,000.

            The USA's head of both is the President. He gets $400,000.

            I thing that Switzerland isn't paying enough. Just $1,002,000 is not much for a country as wealthy as Switzerland. Of course, leader pay in the United States is absurd. Calling it a "public service" doesn't mean you'll get what you want. Look, the evidence is that things aren't working. The corruption is a problem. We are not paying market rate, and so the result should be unsurprising.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday December 28 2020, @02:34PM (10 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 28 2020, @02:34PM (#1092031) Journal

          So, it is your position that elected officials, at least at the federal level, should be paid like rock stars?

          You might make a case that congress critters are underpaid. Maybe. But no way do they deserve salaries comparable to Elon Musk or the other rock stars of tech, entertainment, sports, or whatever.

          I think we would make a better case of paying our congress critters the median income of their constituents, plus expenses. And, the expenses should be VERY closely audited.

          --
          We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:31PM (9 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:31PM (#1092100)

            Think of it like education - sure it's expensive, until you count the cost of not having it.

            $500k entry level
            $1m mid-level
            $5m President

            How bout dem apples? You do the math... 100 Senators, 400 Congressmen. It's less than a single pallet of unmarked cash helicoptered into Iraq to deliver Freedom.

            • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:19PM (8 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:19PM (#1092115)

              Or link it to a multiple of the median salary.

              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Monday December 28 2020, @06:47PM (7 children)

                by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 28 2020, @06:47PM (#1092124) Journal

                This ^ , a thousand times this ^ !

                Politician's salaries should depend on how much good they are doing their constituents. If Senator Joe Schmoe's district is bleeding jobs, and people are actually going to bed hungry, then Joe Schmoe shouldn't be making 1/4 million, or 1/2 million, or 5 million. He needs to wonder if he's going to eat tomorrow.

                --
                We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:36PM (6 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:36PM (#1092207)

                  That is a good idea, but the multiplier needs to be enough that we don't get the people who were too corrupt and useless for corporate America. So here is a workable formula for paying a senator. Add up the following:

                  • 10th percentile income times 3096
                  • 25th percentile income times 1969
                  • 50th percentile income times 1005
                  • 75th percentile income times 415
                  • 90th percentile income times 132

                  For that calculation, we can use the average of pre-tax and post-tax income. Multiply the final weighted sum by 0.45 for a representative, by 11 for a supreme court justice or vice president, or by 100 for the president. FYI, my weighting gives low-income people a slightly higher importance. The 10th percentile gets 1/3 of the weight, the 50th percentile gets 1/5 of the weight, and the 90th percentile gets only 1/15 of the weight. This encourages a modest preference for having low-income people earn more.

                  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday December 28 2020, @11:33PM (5 children)

                    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 28 2020, @11:33PM (#1092242) Journal

                    Why you want to overpay them so much? 90th percentile? Maybe. Without the multiplier. Give them an expense account, and monitor their expenses closely.

                    --
                    We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
                    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @12:02AM (4 children)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @12:02AM (#1092254)

                      If they are already very rich and getting richer, bribes are more expensive. We should make sure it isn't cost-effective for China to bribe our politicians. China, being the second largest economy in the world, has plenty of money. We need China to see that legitimate competition is a better investment than bribery, but currently that isn't true. Bribes are dirt cheap.

                      We need to pull effective managers away from corporate America. Right now those people are getting millions of dollars per year. Most of them do that without bribes, unlike our politicians. Pick a random large company and ask yourself why the CEO would ever consider getting elected. The pay cut would be huge.

                      The word "overpay" is inappropriate. We could pay less. We could pay negative! Imagine charging people $1,292,556 per year to be a senator. Corruption would be far worse. Paying more money to reduce the corruption is not overpaying. It's deciding that corruption is bad, and accepting the only realistic way to reduce it.

                      • (Score: 3, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 29 2020, @12:16AM (3 children)

                        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 29 2020, @12:16AM (#1092265) Journal

                        I really don't think you understand people. You seem to be suggesting that there is no corruption in the corporate world. Rupert Murdoch, George Soros, Bill Gates, and the remaining Koch brother are all saints, right? Because they have money. Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but wealth is godly?

                        --
                        We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
                        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @03:16AM (2 children)

                          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 29 2020, @03:16AM (#1092332)

                          Corruption would involve willing participation in the misuse of entrusted power.

                          Bill Gates did some evil shit to defeat DR-DOS, Netscape, Java, OS/2, Borland, and many others. His company benefited. Corruption would be something else, like personally accepting millions of shares of Borland stock in exchange for standardizing on Borland compilers.

                          It's supposed to be like that with a US president. Sometimes the president does some evil shit to help America win. (hack Iran with Stuxnet, explode a Soviet gas pipeline with bad software, nuke Japan, listen to Merkel's phone, chop up an Iranian general in Iraq, etc.) That is a proper part of the job. Abusing the power of the office for personal financial gain is another matter entirely.

                          George Soros isn't corrupt, despite being evil like a real-life supervillain. He admits to being happiest when he was helping NAZIs hunt down his fellow Jews in World War II. These days he funds Antifa rioters, helping them with bail and helping to elect prosecutors that will let rioters go free without charges. He funds boats to ship huge numbers of Africans to disrupt European social norms and the European economy. It seems he just wants to break civilization, and he doesn't care how. It's just fun I guess. Note however, that none of this is an abuse of institutional power that he has been entrusted with. He is following the rules as far as we know, but of course I wouldn't be surprised if he were bribing senators.

                          When the Koch brother fights to remove restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and on illegal aliens, he is helping his businesses. Corruption would be if he took some money from Greenpeace and then supported the Green New Deal. As with Soros, I don't see any corruption. Koch is unlikely to be accepting bribes. He might be offering bribes, but that isn't known.

                          Rupert Murdoch is an odd one to list. I guess the left hates him. He seems mostly fine to me. There was a scandal involving his newspaper bribing police for information. I don't know that it involved him, and anyway that is the side of corruption that isn't too relevant for a politician. We're worried about politicians taking bribes, not paying bribes.

                          • (Score: 3, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday December 29 2020, @01:28PM (1 child)

                            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday December 29 2020, @01:28PM (#1092445) Journal

                            I take it then that lawful evil is acceptable in a politician. I have to disagree.

                            --
                            We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
                            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @04:34AM

                              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @04:34AM (#1092755)

                              Most people expect their own lawyer to use every trick in the book to get a win, but get pretty pissed when the opposing side does that. Tossing out a case over some minor technicality is a valid way to win, even if it is playing dirty. That's all legal, but bribing the judge is not.

                              The lawyer for $1000/hour might lose. The lawyer for $100/hour might win. Normally the cheap lawyer is the crummy one though, and your chances would be worse if you hired that one.

                              Electing somebody is like hiring a lawyer. Heck, most of them actually are lawyers. We should get ones who will fight for us. International law is a polite fiction, so there are no limits on dealing with foreign countries. We should expect our politicians to follow our own laws though. They seem to have trouble with that.

                              Think how many billions of dollars, or trillions of dollars even, a simple tariff change might mean for China. It wouldn't take more than a few million per year to hire Hunter Biden as a trade policy advisor. Hunter Biden is such an expert that he can deliver valuable wisdom with just one quarterly meeting in China. If he happens to spend time there with beautiful intelligence agents who like cocaine and meth, oh well.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:15PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:15PM (#1092088)

          Funny how quickly they become multimillionaires on that salary, isn't it?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:32PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:32PM (#1092101)

            Not that "funny" any more.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @05:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @05:48PM (#1092897)

          Pay them more? Bad stuff is happening because they're not paid more? Are you a shill or retarded? In the US corporate world many CEOs and bosses are paid a lot and there's PLENTY OF BAD BEHAVIOR from highly paid ones.

          What's certain is they're not being PUNISHED enough even when they've done stuff wrong. Since drugs are the topic check this out: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-230696/ [rollingstone.com]

          There's plenty of other examples if you bother to look.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Monday December 28 2020, @08:13PM

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Monday December 28 2020, @08:13PM (#1092163) Journal

        The higher up the food chain you go, the more...impressive the corruption becomes.

        Corruption is quantified by its proximity to power (what, the inverse square of its distance?), approaching infinity at the top.

        --
        La politica e i criminali sono la stessa cosa..
    • (Score: 2) by leon_the_cat on Monday December 28 2020, @11:02AM (1 child)

      by leon_the_cat (10052) on Monday December 28 2020, @11:02AM (#1091977) Journal

      Most of the largest monetary corruption scandals in recent years have involved banks, most of them just got large fines. This article looks like it is trying to use an association fallacy.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @05:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 30 2020, @05:54PM (#1092900)
        Yeah, prison for those involved would work far better at discouraging repeat incidents than fining the banks.

        Everyone has got about 120 years max, 70-80+ typical.

        And 10 years in a US prison is a bigger loss for a millionaire banker than 10 years in a US prison for a homeless guy. Heck in the US some people even commit crimes to get healthcare in prison.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by driverless on Monday December 28 2020, @11:49AM

      by driverless (4770) on Monday December 28 2020, @11:49AM (#1091985)

      Some others you missed are liquor licenses and nightclubs. Holy shit, those two are practically a free-for-all for graft, and have been since prohibition was repealed. Place I used to live had liquor licensing boundaries that would have made a gerrymander's head spin, obviously bought and paid for by local interests, and everyone just accepted it as the way things were done.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday December 28 2020, @01:30PM

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday December 28 2020, @01:30PM (#1092016) Journal

      The point is that these licensing schemes are creating obvious problems.

      It seems likely that the U.S. Congress will deschedule cannabis at some point, but will allow the states to regulate it in the manner of their choosing, basically absolving themselves of any political issues. But implementation of legalization can vary wildly state by state, to the point of creating a state-taxed oligopoly [theguardian.com] in control of cannabis, or excluding certain people from getting a loicense [nbcnews.com] due to capital or conviction record requirements [reason.org].

      On the other hand, I have a friend arguing to me that all existing cannabis businesses should be crushed, and the entire industry handed over to Philip Morris, which could create predictable outcomes but affect "Mom and Pop" operations all the way up to NASDAQ-traded Tilray [wikipedia.org].

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Tokolosh on Monday December 28 2020, @03:22PM

      by Tokolosh (585) on Monday December 28 2020, @03:22PM (#1092041)

      When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

      P. J. O'Rourke

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @04:15PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @04:15PM (#1092059)

      [...] Don't want corruption in your local government? Don't elect corrupt politicians, and if you do, make sure to throw the book at them to discourage others.

      Election systems fail when city councils are installed by law enforcement: https://www.yakimawa.gov/ [yakimawa.gov]

      All in the interest of trolling for 'hate' crime and presumptive 'social offender' suspects.

    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:56PM (12 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:56PM (#1092109)

      "Don't elect corrupt politicians"

      I think the first step is to ensure the integrity of the election process. We should probably

      A: Do away with mail in ballots. You can fill your ballot out at home but you need to individually drop it off to a designated location with various election guards and monitored cameras that stream online and guards need to be present and the cameras need to continue to stream until the election results are finalized.

      B: Photo ID needs to be required. Each person that votes should be on camera for everyone online to see on the cameras so that everyone can identify voters and see if anyone votes twice.

      C: Photo ID should be presented and individuals should be crossed off a list as they vote. We need to know how many people actually voted to avoid vote stuffing.

      This nonsense where voting laws are abruptly changed last minute in swing locations should not be tolerated.

      Many other procedures should also take place. For instance perhaps I can select a random pseudonym that gets presented next to my vote on a list that's presented online (could this allow vote buying? Well, we already have mail in ballots ATM so that could just as well allow vote buying. Vote buying is illegal and should be which would make large scale vote buying more difficult).

      The DNC should also require IDs to vote for the primaries just as well (for every state). I don't like Biden (nor do I like Trump), I would much rather one of the other candidates (though I'm not a democrat I would have preferred someone like Bloomberg over Trump though I would have to have done more reading). Regardless Biden is part of the (pro copy'right') establishment and the IP cartels have huge incentive to cheat to make sure he gets selected. IP extremists are not honest, they would go to great lengths to cheat. We need to make sure cheating doesn't happen.

      The establishment and special interests want to find every way possible to work against the public interest in favor of their own interests. They are more than willing to cheat. IMO, the only good reason to oppose strong measures to ensure cheating doesn't happen is if you plan to cheat. We need to DEMAND that strong measures are in place to avoid cheating because how can we vote for such measures if the integrity of the voting system itself is what's in question.

      I do agree that the government should ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to vote (even if they live in a remote location for instance) and I don't even mind the federal government offering states money in exchange for opening more polling stations and whatever is necessary (I believe Arnold Schwarzenegger even used his own money to open more polling stations to give more people the opportunity to vote. This shouldn't be necessary, the state should provide those). I get that these things are left up to the states but states should provide everyone the opportunity to vote and I think more should be done to allow for this as well. But allowing more people to vote is no excuse to compromise the potential integrity of the election process whatsoever. We can both have an honest election and allow everyone a fair opportunity to vote.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:05PM (#1092111)

        and the shills that are against a such a pseudonym system that I mention above in the name of preventing vote buying are the same shills paid shills that are in favor of mail in ballots despite the fact that this also enables vote buying.

        I'm against mail in ballots not because it may enable vote buying but because it makes vote stuffing more easy. Diluting my vote is a way of basically invalidating it.

        I think the best way to protect against mass scale vote buying is to make it illegal and impose huge penalties for it against the entity buying the votes and smaller penalties against the entity who is having their vote bought. Perhaps even criminal penalties against the individuals buying the vote. So if a company buys votes and gets caught someone is going to jail.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:18PM (10 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:18PM (#1092114)

        What's your position on gerrymandering? Death panels? Russian interference? Hm?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:52PM (9 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:52PM (#1092128)

          I think the Russian interference smokescreen is just intended to get certain cybersecurity 'defense' bills passed. The explanation for that is very simple ... money. Those saying that such interference in the elections exist have confusing and nebulous arguments at best. Money is simple and not confusing so I'm going to take Occam's razor on that one.

          If we have strong measures to avoid cheating then how can the Russians interfere with the elections and cheat them? I don't see how weakening voting integrity can help the Russians.

          As far as gerrymandering I'm mostly against the whole electoral college but I'm also against a straight FPTP system as well when it comes to congress, for instance. I'm more in favor of proportional representation where the number of seats in parliament would depend on the actual number of voters that voted for a specific party. I get to vote for my party and I get to vote for my favorite candidate within that party. Members within that party enter parliament in rank of how many voters within the party voted for them and the number of people within a party that enter parliament depends on what percentage of the voters voted for that party.

          Disclaimer, I would vote pirate party and I feel disenfranchised by the two party system so I guess a proportional representation system would benefit me the most.

          If we're going to have our current system then it should depend on where state borders fall and how many people within a given state voted for a given candidate.

          Regarding local elections everyone should vote for candidates that are able to regulate them and the boundaries shouldn't really change over an extended period of time.

          Regarding death panels I never even heard the term until now and trying to read up on it suggests that it has nothing to do with election integrity and so isn't relevant to this discussion (I'm assuming this is what you mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_panel [wikipedia.org] ). I would have to read up on it more to maybe form an opinion but after about five minutes of reading various website what I'm reading seems to be confusing, I can't even find a straightforward definition of the term and even Wikipedia doesn't seem to be helping me much. I would have to investigate further but don't really have the interest, at least not right now.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:04PM (8 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:04PM (#1092156)

            I really hope you don't live in the United States.

            Because if you do, you're incredibly ignorant about how the system works.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:16PM (7 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:16PM (#1092167)

              Can you be more specific. What is your specific criticism. Do you have a specific argument with evidence you can present or just some unspecific nebulous claims backed by 'intelligence hearsay'.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:37PM (5 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:37PM (#1092174)

                Can you be more specific.

                Sure. Sorry about the multi-syllabic words. I imagine they're hard for you to understand. Maybe if you sound them out?

                As far as gerrymandering I'm mostly against the whole electoral college

                Gerrymandering is completely irrelevant to the electoral college.

                I'm more in favor of proportional representation where the number of seats in parliament

                There is no "parliament" in the United States.

                If we're going to have our current system then it should depend on where state borders fall and how many people within a given state voted for a given candidate.

                Which is *exactly* how it works. In the US Senate, two senator are elected from each state. And while the House of Representatives is divided into districts by population, every House district falls within a single state's borders.

                Regarding local elections everyone should vote for candidates that are able to regulate them and the boundaries shouldn't really change over an extended period of time.

                Boundaries don't change in *local* elections.

                So yes. If you're actually an American, you are completely ignorant of how your own government works. If you're not from around these parts, it shows. Either way it's not a good look, friend.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:57PM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:57PM (#1092186)

                  I know that the U.S. doesn't have a proportional representational system. I'm saying it should. If it doesn't then what should happen is as stated above. Do you not know how to read?

                  "the House of Representatives is divided into districts by population"

                  and I'm saying that this whole setup is not a good thing. The setup should be changed so that gerrymandering is not possible.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:05PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:05PM (#1092190)

                    Retconning your post, eh?

                    You go, girlfriend!

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:22PM (2 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @09:22PM (#1092200)

                  "Boundaries don't change in *local* elections."

                  It's like you don't know how to read. I never said that they do or don't. I am just stating that they shouldn't.

                  The point is that elections at all levels should be such that gerrymandering is not possible.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:44PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @10:44PM (#1092223)

                    It's like you don't know how to read. I never said that they do or don't. I am just stating that they shouldn't.

                    The point is that elections at all levels should be such that gerrymandering is not possible.

                    I can read. You said [soylentnews.org]:

                    As far as gerrymandering I'm mostly against the whole electoral college

                    Gerrymandering has no role to play in Presidential elections (which is the only place where the "electoral college" has a role).

                    So yes, I can read. And you were talking out of your ass.

                    13 states already have non-partisan or bi-partisan redistricting entities [wikipedia.org], and that redistricting is *required* by the Constitution [congress.gov] every ten years.

                    If you don't have a non/bi-partisan redistricting commission in your state, that's your fault and you have no one to blame but yourself and fellow citizens of your state.

                    That you are unaware of these things just makes me even more sure you're really fucking dumb or don't live in the US at all.

                    Either way. That's all the feeding you get, asshole.

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:02PM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:02PM (#1092231)

                      You're right.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:00PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @11:00PM (#1092229)

                Ooh, and look! I found your ex. [asianstreetmeat.com] [NSFW]

                She became that after she took what little money you had right? So now you're not only an idiot, but bitter too. Life is hard as an incel, I hear tell.

                Too bad. It's good to have an LBFM.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by VLM on Monday December 28 2020, @06:16PM (1 child)

      by VLM (445) on Monday December 28 2020, @06:16PM (#1092113)

      It's only wrong if it's cannabis related

      Its only wrong according to the dying legacy media because they're not legally allowed to purchase advertising from the aforementioned dying legacy media.

      If the dispensary or the branded products they sell were allowed to buy local TV station ad inserts or full page ads in the local newspaper, suddenly weed would be the most kosher thing the dying legacy news media has ever reported on.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @08:37PM (#1092175)

        VLM may be a racist dickbag, but I don't see how criticizing legacy media is flamebait. Now this comment? I wouldn't call it flamebait myself, more a PSA but it could qualify.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Snotnose on Monday December 28 2020, @10:24AM (2 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Monday December 28 2020, @10:24AM (#1091972)

    I'm guessing states like Oregon and Colorado, with minimal regulation, have this problem. On the other hand, here in California you have sky high taxes combined with labyrithin hurdles to jump to get a permit, big problem.

    Instead of trying to blame the evil weed how about we blame the actual culprits: evil and greedy politicians.

    --
    In this month in 1958 Project Snot was started. This has upset many people and is widely considered a bad idea.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by RamiK on Monday December 28 2020, @11:30AM (1 child)

      by RamiK (1813) on Monday December 28 2020, @11:30AM (#1091981)

      Whether it's through direct bribes, campaign funds or regulatory capture, increasing regulations and/or executive power only serves the corrupt at both state and federal levels so long as your political system is biased towards donors rather than voters.

      Once you remove the federals from the equation*, the only difference between one state and the next is the depth of the industry's pockets compared to other, competing industries. And this applies to every industry and product past and present.

      *to be clear, it's not that the federal government isn't corrupt. it's just that it takes a LOT more money to play on that level so federal regulations tend to filter out some of minor corruption the state level wouldn't.

      --
      compiling...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @06:21PM (#1092118)

        I think it's quite the opposite. If there is corruption at the local level people can more easily vote with their feet (move to a different location). It's harder to do this at the federal level so the stakes are higher and the payoff is higher.

  • (Score: 3, Touché) by MIRV888 on Monday December 28 2020, @12:08PM

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Monday December 28 2020, @12:08PM (#1091989)

    Umm, KY politicians were corrupt long before not legalizing it.

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday December 28 2020, @01:45PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday December 28 2020, @01:45PM (#1092019)

    People (lawyers, actually) in Florida looking to be first movers in the legal Cannabis space have invested millions in farmlands and related production/distribution infrastructure. Investing in the necessary politicians' votes is just part of the cost of being legally protected to do business, little different from spinning fees for wind power, whatever they call it for solar, or a "business license" for a hot dog cart.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @01:56PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @01:56PM (#1092022)

    government ruins everything

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @05:35PM (#1092102)

      *sponsored by the Somalian tourist board

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday December 28 2020, @02:46PM (4 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 28 2020, @02:46PM (#1092032) Journal

    As near as I can tell, there is a missing rule. Growing for personal consumption should be legal everywhere. But, it seems some of the laws are aimed at preventing exactly that.

    I don't need or want to be involved, but it should be perfectly legal for me to buy the seeds, and grow a couple dozen plants on my own property. I'm afraid that if I had even one or two plants growing on my property, the law would quickly get involved. Arkansas, like other states, has a history of taking your property, your home, pretty much everything you own, when they catch you growing cannabis.

    So, how does that play out, statewide in Arkansas, and nationwide? Are there still cops searching out "illegal" grow operations? Are there still "informants" snitching on people with a pot plant on their back porch?

    We have laws regarding alcohol production, and firearms manufacture. You may produce limited amounts, for personal consumption. We need some unequivocal laws regarding personal production of cannabis products.

    --
    We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday December 28 2020, @04:11PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday December 28 2020, @04:11PM (#1092057) Journal

      It should be legal to grow at home, and many of the state recreational laws [wikipedia.org] do permit some arbitrary amount of cannabis plants at home, but most people won't bother, and big farming operations will have better yields, cost per unit, etc.

      Even black market grow+sales won't be able to compete effectively in the long run. They might not have to pay some taxes, but taxes are surprisingly low in some of these states (e.g. 10%, similar to alcohol), people would rather buy from a nice store than a street dealer, and getting caught could result in fines or prison.

      So if states or counties are restricting licenses to a handful of companies, they are handing out a license to print money. It's worth bribing for it.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @04:30PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @04:30PM (#1092064)

        Black/grey market weed is thriving, and will continue to do so as long as corruption keeps competition down. If there is one retail competitor in a 50 mile radius, 400/oz for barely-not-booboo is the result. Meanwhile, shifting a pound or two can cover bills for any rando with a grow room.

        • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Monday December 28 2020, @05:28PM

          by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 28 2020, @05:28PM (#1092099)

          Black/grey market weed is thriving, and will continue to do so as long as corruption keeps competition down. If there is one retail competitor in a 50 mile radius, 400/oz for barely-not-booboo is the result. Meanwhile, shifting a pound or two can cover bills for any rando with a grow room.

          This. Recreational is legal where I live but they prices are insane (or so I'm told by acquaintances who bought before it was legal). It's mainly down to the limited number of licenses for growers. There are so few growers they can keep the prices high. The dispensaries are taking the heat for the costs but they are bitching about it too. Not to mention "big weed" doing their best to block things like new licenses and home growing while trying to take over as much as they can on the grown and sell sides. We've had legal rec for less than a year and there has already been massive consolidation in the industry here, with companies getting bought up right and left. In the mean time a lot of people who lined up on day 1 are back buying from their dealers because it costs 1/3 what the legal product does, it is more convenient to buy, and once they have it in their possession, well it's technically not legal but good luck proving where it came from once it's out of whatever it came in and into a jar.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday December 28 2020, @09:16PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday December 28 2020, @09:16PM (#1092195)

      Most of the Florida laws seem aimed at focusing the profits into a small number of hands. Licenses to grow, licenses to sell, illegal to grow your own, etc.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by srobert on Monday December 28 2020, @04:15PM

    by srobert (4803) on Monday December 28 2020, @04:15PM (#1092058)

    "For some politicians, the lure of a bribe or favor can be irresistible."

    We legalized marijuana here in Nevada. Thank goodness our state and local officials have not succumbed to temptation.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @07:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28 2020, @07:07PM (#1092139)

    FTFY.

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