Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pot Update

Some people thought legalizing pot would be the end of the world in Colorado. Others thought it would usher in a new munchie utopia. Well, Dave's not here, man... but the facts are and I thought you might be interested in how the pot experiment has been going in Colorado.

If you believed the anti-pot people, Colorado would turn into a nightmare world of jobless drug addicts all gateway-ing their way to heroin... like Baltimore. If you believed the pro-pot people, then somethingsomething panacea, man! The truth is that pot's been kind of a wash really... unlike pot heads who don't wash. Here are some facts:
● Crime is down in Denver in 2015, but it's not clear if that is because the improved economy, less active (re: stoned) criminals, or the simple fact they aren't arresting people for possession of pot anymore. So forget the idea that pot caused this. One thing we can say though is that crime is not up as many expected.

● Marijuana related ER visits have skyrocketed 30% from 739 out of 100,000 visits to 956 per 100,000 visits. There are 164 million of those each year in the US according to the CDC. This increase would translate into 5,367 more ER visits in Colorado each year. The average cost of an ER visit in 2015 was $2,168. The works out to $11.6 million in increased costs due to the pot change.

● Marijuana related hospitalizations have soared from 803 per 100,000 patients to 2,413 per 100,000 patients. There are about 405,000 overnight stays in hospitals in Colorado each year (313 million nationally). That means an increase of 6,520 hospital stays. At an average cost of about $2,896 per day, that works out to an additional cost to our health care system of about $18.9 million (over $10 billion nationally).

● On the plus side, marijuana brought in $699 million to the state's economy, along with $63 million in taxes.

● On the downside, those in treatment were slightly more likely to be heavy users -- 35.6% compared to 33.5%.

● Pot related DUIs are flat at 665 compared to 674. But driving deaths in which the person had pot in their system rose from 55 in 2013 to 79. I suppose that's a negative, but honestly, don't care about them.

● Juvenile pot arrests are up from 3,234 to 3,400. But surveys show that 80% of high school students don't use pot.

● Use among 18-25 year olds is up from 21% in 2006 to 31% in 2014.
So what does this mean? Crime didn't rise. Drug use rates didn't go up with kids, though it did go up with the retard set at 18-25. That said, it's still only 3 in 10. Users seem to be dying at a slightly faster rate. That's good.

Someone sent me this little bit of propaganda:
The truth though, as you see above is a tad different. Even if you take that whole $63 million and pretend it comes at no cost, that is nothing compared to our education budget of $3.7 billion. That's a 1.7% increase. Said differently, it equates to about $0.38 per school-day per student, assuming no overhead. But again, you need to offset the hospital costs, the costs of wiping those dead potheads off the asphalt, and the cost of doing whatever we're going to do with the users after they prematurely grow old and useless(er) -- it has been proven that long term pot use makes you stupid (as if we needed science to tell us that). Of course, it also causes breast growth in males, so maybe there's some reality TV show potential there to offset the costs of babysitting the morons. In any event, this assumes there are no negative medical or mental conditions connected to pot, and we know that's not true. I would bet you're looking at increased lung cancer as well, plus increased unemployment and underemployment.

Also, you can't really count on the tax revenue because we're getting tons of out-of-state potheads here to buy this stuff and try to go home and sell it. If a third of our sales are to tourists, then you're looking at only $40 million in tax revenue less $30 million in medical less whatever else isn't being counted. So much for all the billions of schools and homeless shelters we supposedly built. Morons.

All told, it's been a draw. Legalizing pot increased some problems, but didn't turn Colorado to shit. It's no magic bullet either. Dependency got worse, the cost of medical care rose, and there were more deaths. Basically, it's doing what you expect: it's hurting the weakest users while relieving white trash of their spending money, kind of like the Lottery, McDonald's, smokes, and fat burning products. So all in all... meh.


ArgentGale said...

Baltimore? Scraping dead potheads off the asphalt? LOL! Glad to see your sense of humor is still strong, Andrew! Your analysis makes sense all around, though I'm almost afraid to ask what the pot related hospital visits and overnight stays are about. It does sound like natural selection in motion, though! Good analysis on the revenue, too. I figured that it wouldn't be all that it's cracked up to be.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Daniel! I do enjoy a little levity now and then and if you can't laugh at potheads, who can you laugh at?

Ultimately, this really is a wash. It hasn't really made things worse at this point, but it's wrong to think it's made things better either. None of the fears or promises have come true at this point.

It does make life a little worse for the biggest morons out there, but frankly, who cares?

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. The pot related visits are for ODs generally... or mammograms. ;)

Anthony said...

Interesting analysis. I've no interest in the stuff, but judging by its impact on all the users floating around, its milder than alcohol (generally speaking, I know like alcohol there are a lot of types of varying potency) so I'm fine with legalization.

LL said...

Though you can't blame CO, the legalization craze brought about a change in strategy in Mexican horticulture. They are shifting from C. Sativa to opium poppies as a cash crop. The amount of heroin on the streets has skyrocketed. And that is not a good thing. If you factor THAT into the equation (law of unintended consequences), there is another cost that should be considered.

BevfromNYC said...

So the poor stay poor and nothing gets accomplished except it's not a crime anymore. Why bother.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Why bother? I would say the following are the real reasons they bother:

1. Liberal white professionals want to do it without fear of going to jail. And they don't care about the consequences for others.

2. Governments like the cash source so long as the costs outweigh the benefits. So this is a test to see if it's worth milking.

There's also perhaps the idea that society is better off if white trash is smoking their lives away in a munchie haze rather than doing meth and getting violent.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, That is the law of obvious yet unintended consequences. The pro people always like to claim that once pot is legal, all the cartels will magically go away, but that's idiocy. They will simply switch to other things.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Bev, other than college professors and Subaru drivers, I would suggest that the typical pot user is this:

50 year old man/woman on fake disability who spends their days smoking pot, watching television, and occasionally getting tattoos. That's what I saw in West Virginia. That's the case with a certain relative's waistoid family. None of them are salvageable as human beings.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, As drugs go, this is a good one in the sense that it basically turns people into lumps. It doesn't make them violent and it doesn't give them energy they need to burn off. Basically, it makes them useless versus dangerous.

tryanmax said...


You forgot one of the reasons to bother legalizing pot. Racism. I know, I know, maybe it doesn't count because it's so obvious. But favoring legalizing pot is a racial virtue signal because, you know--heh--you're not gonna make me say it, are you? 😉

On that note, it's fairly obvious that pot is the low-hanging fruit of the war-on-drugs tree. It accounts for about half of all drug arrests. I think Colorado's experiment justifies a change in priorities.

tryanmax said...

P.S. In case anyone is mistaken, I do not think pot is a "black thing" but apparently a lot of high-minded liberals do.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, On racism, I think you have that backwards. Pot is largely seen as an educated white people thing... like cocaine. Ecstasy is seen as a young "hip white kid" drug. Poor white people do meth. Black people do all of it, plus crack. That's kind of the accepted view of white liberals. So legalizing pot will fall into the same category of "you only do this so white people won't go to jail," i.e. the argument against the harsher mandatory minimum sentencing of crack users over cocaine users. In other words, expect legalization to be added to the "it's racism!" argument.

In terms of the war on drugs, I have actually long thought that it was a waste to lock people up for pot. They should not be in prisons because they're largely harmless and because it's a waste of resources. They should instead be sentenced to community service and the jails left for the drugs that bring violence. As you say, I think Colorado's experiment is likely to bear that out.

tryanmax said...

That's the beauty of racism; it's a catch-all. If you oppose marijuana legalization, you favor tearing apart black and brown families. If you favor marijuana legalization, it's just to protect whitey. Heck, even the word "marijuana" has racist roots, if you believe the internet. Call it "cannabis" to signal your enlightenment on the topic. (I don't know enough about pot to make this shit up.)

As you said, the white liberal view is that "black people do all of it" but also that black people get unfairly punished for pot vs. white people. So the anti-racist solution is to give to blacks what white people enjoy. Don't bother pointing out the racist overtones in that; they're too stoned to understand.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's actually a really good point. It's racist to oppose legalization because black people do pot, but it's racist to legalize it because you only did it to protect white people.

There really is no issue you can't spin into racism and the left wouldn't have it any other way...

EPorvaznik said...

A black thing, tryanmax? I thought it was a musician thing? ;-)

P.S. Andrew, "someone" thanks you for the fuller breakdown!

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome, EP. I think right now the answer is that the whole thing appears to be a draw: some good, some bad. Any idea that it's been a stunning success is totally delusional. But it hasn't been a nightmare either.

Maybe the balance will shift over time, but right now it's kind of a draw.

tryanmax said...

EP, I thought it was a musician thing?

Yeah, a jazz musician thing, you dog-whistle, code-word racist!

EPorvaznik said...

>>Yeah, a jazz musician thing, you dog-whistle, code-word racist!>>

Trey Anastasio and Chris Robinson say, "What, maaaaan?"

BevfromNYC said...

What I meant by "why bother" is that legalizing pot is a done deal and it affects no one appreciably especially those who were supposed to helped by the legalization. It just keeps people out of jail and the drug cartels up and running. Maybe an all out legalization of all illegal drugs - crack, meth, coke, heroine, and illegal use of prescription drugs - would help.

There is a war on people who suffer real, chronic pain to limit pain meds so they can get no relief because drug addicts get them.

I agree that is just Darwinian, so let all those who want to use hard drugs - shoot up, snort up, smoke up - do it to their hearts' content, and be done with them.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, On the one hand, I agree with you. Why stop people who need it just to spite those who will abuse it, and who cares if these people do themselves in.

What I worry about with the other drugs, however, is that they have much nastier effects that get third parties hurt. If it was just the dope heads dying, then I wouldn't care. But people on meth, people on heroin, people on crack and PCP hurt other people, and that's the problem to me.

ArgentGale said...

True, they are an easy target, especially with the dumb things they do. Who knew that natural selection would be the biggest beneficiary of legal pot? Ha, good call on the mammograms, too! Pot induced man boob contests do sound like reality TV in the making! Or would that be considered transphobic? West Virginia being a popular location for pot makes sense, too, though apparently they order home improvement products that they can't pay for as often as they get the munchies there.

- Daniel

AndrewPrice said...

Daniel, It would probably be transphobic, but why not? Who doesn't want to see a couple old dirty white trash bastards slapping each other with their boobs. Ouch, that's an ugly image. Maybe we should ban pot after all?

ArgentGale said...

LOL! It definitely calls for top grade brain bleach, especially since I just got a mental image of at least one contestant making an entrance to Shawn Michaels' entrance music! Anyway, the good brain bleach is in the janitor's closet over there. I'll make sure that there's enough to go around!

- Daniel

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