Failures of Planning

Pot is legal to consume and sell in two states, Washington legalized medical marijuana and Colorado legalized recreational use. The potheads won, they thought. Then…reality appeared. While those two states legalized marijuana within their borders, the Feds still considered it an illegal substance.

The potheads set up business, opened store fronts, acquired suppliers (who? From locals or from the cartels?), and started selling. Problems appeared the first day. Customers wanted to pay with plastic like all too many consumers. When the potheads tried to open bank accounts to allow credit and debit card payments, the banks refused! It seems the banks would be in violation of a number of federal laws and regulations.


One entrepreneur in Washington state, following state law, paid his taxes as required. He and several others departed his business, each taking separate routes, taking extreme care to evade possible hijackers to…deliver a $51,000 tax payment—in cash. With no bank accounts, the potheads must do business in cash.

Just consider the dilemma. All that cash. Where to store it? How to guard it? Who guards the guards? All that cash will be an attractive target. Potheads will have to hire guards, have oversight on those guards, provide premise security, and all of it eats into the profits.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the potheads’ stores morphs into bullet-proof kiosks. The customer enters, places his order via a speaker, deposits his cash in a drawer and receives his purchase, via another drawer. All without any personal contact between buyer and seller…except for the predators who have staked out the kiosk knowing that a lot of cash will be arriving.

It reminds me of the old Willie Sutton quote. Willie was a well known bank robber in the early 20th Century. A reporter once asked Willie why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he replied.

The potheads have gotten marijuana legalized in two states. Now their troubles are just starting.


I hadn’t intended to make today’s post solely on marijuana but it’s turned out that way. First, I have to declare this: my wife and I are mythical. We attended and completed college in the 1960s and never once, either of us, smoke pot or use any illegals drugs. we have never done so in all our lives. Some folks will declare that is an impossibility because, “Everyone did it.”

Not true.

It wasn’t until years after we had graduated, at a concert in Kansas City’s Music Hall, that I smelled something like burning leaves and suddenly realized that was what pot smelled like. Why my ignorance? My wife and I didn’t associate with drug users. We didn’t travel in concert with those who had ‘dropped out’ and become society’s losers.

No, we had goals, a new family, we both had good jobs at that time, we had friends at our church who were like us. We associated with those like us. We reinforced our solidarity and our goals for our lives and our family. In short, we had much better things to spend our hard-earned money on than to spend it on drugs. We had plenty of examples of those who had chosen that other life style. They and their children now populate the welfare rolls.

I was going to close this post until I saw this column in the American Spectator. It doesn’t match my views on marijuana but it does have truths, truths the pro-marijuana crowd refuses to acknowledge.

Thus Spake the Potheads

By Selwyn Duke, January 13, 2014

It’s starting to appear as if marijuana users have become the homosexual lobby of the chemically dependent. What do I mean? Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson could mention one sexual behavior (adultery) as disqualifying someone from the “kingdom of God,” but mentioning that “other” sexual behavior? That’s a boycottin’, pardner! Likewise, there’s no shortage of articles about the perils of smoking tobacco — about how it causes lung cancer, emphysema and premature aging; about how it’s a dirty, nasty habit — all without indignant smokers crawling out of the woodwork to protest, between hacking coughs, that their passion is being unfairly demonized. But dare imply that inhaling copious amounts of marijuana smoke may not be one of Dr. Oz’s top ten health recommendations, and, well, the potheads cometh.

Let’s begin here with a simple but apparently radical premise: habitually sucking into your lungs hot gases containing carbon particles probably isn’t the most healthful practice. This is true whether the source is a Marlboro, a truck’s tailpipe or a bong loaded with cannabis. Agreed?

Apparently not. As with this article about pot use’s correlation with psychotic behavior, such assertions not only bring out the potheads — who do seem to have the ambition to defend their vice — but also some apologists who claim that marijuana smoking is actually a good. It’s for medicinal purposes, you see.

So we hear about how negative reporting on pot is all Puritan propaganda, about how tobacco is far worse, about how I’m 49 and toked since I were a teen and I funkshun fein, about how if you purge the THC, it’s a perfect drug (somehow every pothead is Linus Pauling). And then there’s the old standby: alcohol is legal and is worse. Alcohol is more addictive. Alcohol this and alcohol that. Potheads love the alcohol comparison. Okay, then, let’s compare the two.

While most agree that casual drinking — one or two drinks — is fine and may even offer health benefits, it’s universally acknowledged that drunkenness is destructive, ugly and reckless. In accordance with the old PSA, “If you have to drink to be social, it’s not social drinking,” it’s accepted that if you have to get inebriated to deal with life, you have a problem. Even drunkards tend to acknowledge this (they just usually deny that they have a problem). And we certainly shouldn’t exercise double standards.

So I’ll say that if you want to have one or two small puffs of a marijuana cigarette, fine.

But you’ve crossed the line if you get high.


This puts the lie to the alcohol/pot comparison. There are millions of casual drinkers who may have a beer or glass of wine with dinner but have no intention of getting tipsy. Except, however, for the few who use pot for legitimate medical purposes (and I’m dubious about the necessity of this, mind you), the goal of a marijuana smoker is ever and always to get high (drunk). The intention is always to alter his mental state.


This is why the proper comparison is not pot smoking and “drinking,” but pot smoking and drunkenness. It is why legal marijuana doesn’t correspond to legal alcohol as much as it does to legal cocaine, another drug that takes you from sober to stewed with one dose.

And it’s why there’s no such thing in the real world as “casual” marijuana use. Millions of “drinkers” can honestly say that they have no chemical dependency issue, but not one regular pot user can. By definition, pot smokers’ goal is to get “drunk.”

So one drink doesn’t equal one joint — one bottle does. But to further cement the point, imagine alcohol really was pot’s equivalent, that even just one six-ounce drink got you plastered. Would we find any degree of alcohol consumption tolerable? Would Prohibition ever have ended?

Note here what I am not doing. I’m not making any claims about whether pot is more unhealthful than tobacco; I’m not denying that a pothead is a safer driver than a drunkard, or opining on whether or not marijuana use increases the incidence of psychosis or lowers I.Q. when used by the young (as another study indicated). I’m not weighing in right now on whether or not the drug should be legal. I’m simply pointing out that the main arguments used to legitimize pot are pap.

And “legitimize” is the operative word. When people editorialized against Prohibition, their argument perhaps was of the nature G.K. Chesterton presented in a 1935 radio talk when he opined, “The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” But I don’t know of anyone who claimed that drunkenness should be considered a desired state or even acceptable. Yet this notion runs through pro-pot commentary: the idea that potheads’ form of drunkenness is okay. And it has to run through it — because, again, to advocate pot use is to advocate “drunkenness.”

So while we may argue about whether pot is a gateway drug, advocacy of it is certainly a gateway idea. Inherent in it is the notion that altering your mind is okay, getting high is fine. Of course, some potheads might tell us that their form of drunkenness is different, that the acceptance of it won’t lead to the acceptance of getting high via other means. Hey, all these things occur in a bubble, there is no slippery slope, and precedents don’t precede. (And where have we heard that before?)

Wherever you stand on pot legalization, about legitimization there should be no debate. A nation that does not maintain stringent social prohibitions (in the least) against chemical dependency will not likely remain strong. Thus, we always must be able to unabashedly say: if you’re using marijuana habitually, face it, you’re a pothead. You’re self-medicating. You’re chemically dependent. You have a problem. And drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

This is true whether it’s by bottle or bong.

14 thoughts on “Failures of Planning

  1. I liked your article. I have a saying for teens. “You become who you hang with!” Smoking, drinking, shoplifting, vandalism, etc. nearly all comes from peer pressure. You apparently had sense enough (or direction from family members) to choose good peers to hang with.

  2. The legal ramifications are going to percolate WELL beyond just recreational users… Banking laws will have to be changed, drug testing issues are going to bring multiple lawsuits, and people will die/be fired due to drug use. ‘I’ don’t want a doper or an alcoholic working on my airplanes… BTDT, almost died once already…

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