The Pot Calling the Market Black
Somewhere in the mire of Rhode Island’s approach to legalized medical marijuana is a lesson about the way in which various forces operate in our legislature:
Law-enforcement officials are uniformly opposed to the program that allows an illegal drug to be legally grown and distributed to licensed patients. They also are troubled by the lack of oversight of the program and their inability to get the names of the caregivers and patients.
State police Lt. Col. Steven G. O’Donnell said there is nothing prohibiting caregivers from lacing their marijuana with phencyclidine (PCP) or other powerful drugs.
“It’s very unregulated,” he said. “It makes no sense to us. We regulate hamburger and food, but we do not regulate medical marijuana. There are no checks and balances.” …
“We like to think that people who are part of the program do have common sense,” [Health Department spokeswoman Annemarie] Beardsworth said.
By creating distributors licenses for individuals and random folks from whom they’d like to buy their drugs, legislators have created a somewhat cozier corner for the black market. The story begins with the discovery that a pot “caregiver” (as suppliers are surreally named) may be dabbling in a harder trade. Another “caregiver” recently had his license revoked for seedy behavior. If the medical marijuana law hadn’t been designed in such a way as to cloak every dealer with the shield of privacy concerns, it’s likely that others could be proven to justify the Orwellian echo of the term “caregiver.”
To the point, though, when a state government that repeatedly shows itself disposed to suspect the inability of constituents to take care of themselves assumes the common sense of drug dealers, it suggests one of two things (or both):
- The law was passed as a fashionable statement, without regard to consequences.
- Those who passed and advocated for the law have an interest in the illicit industry.
If the supposition is that pot is a medicine, then it ought to be distributed as such, and the legislature could have created a regulated supply chain. If, on the other hand, the supposition is that marijuana simply shouldn’t be illegal, then the doors ought to be flung open so that the free market could bring down prices and draw a bright line between what’s legal and what is not. Instead, government proves, once again, that it inclines toward worst-of-all-worlds solutions.