$407 For Lab Testing A Pound of Pot?

by Fred Gardner, March 29, 2017

California's Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act — called "mac cursor" — was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2016. The Administrative State needs until January 1, 2018 to implement it. Dale Gieringer of California NORML reports:

"Regulatory costs due to MCRSA are estimated to run between $225 and $873 per pound, according to an economic analysis by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.  Over half of the costs are accounted for by testing requirements. This analysis doesn’t include taxes.  The Prop 64 cultivation tax comes to $148/pound —less than the estimated cost of testing.  The analysis also estimates that adult-use production will be 61.5% of the market, the medical use segment 9%, and the illegal segment 29.5%."

The >200 page analysis was prepared by UC Davis input/output economists for California's Bureau of Marijuana Control. The very name of this new government entity reflects fear, ignorance and a police-state mentality. What they need in Sacramento is Marijuana for Bureau Control.

When I was working for San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan some 15 years ago, I went to the Grove St. offices of the Public Health Department to ask Josh Bamberger, MD, if his department would test the herb being sold in dispensaries for mold and toxins. This was about five years after Prop 215 passed and five years before Steve DeAngelo willed Steep Hill Lab into being. The answer was no, the Health Dept didn't have the budget... It never dawned on me to suggest that testing could be a moneymaker for them. Nor did it dawn on me to try to involve the SFPD, which had a testing lab in Hunter's Point. I had generally excellent relations with Chiefs Fred Lau and Health Fong, and also with the cops I dealt with every day, but the narcs didn't like me (it was mutual) and the lab was their turf.

When I recently told a friend about Hallinan's efforts to involve the city and county of San Francisco's Health Department in implementing Prop 215, she said, as if to her own surprise, "It never occurred to me that the government should be responsible for lab testing."

Privatization is not just something that happened in the former Soviet Union. It has been happening in the US all these years. There is a pervasive sense that the Administrative State is useless. Cannabis activists don't even think to demand useful services in return for their tax dollars.

One month after Prop 215 passed, Hallinan went to Sacramento for an "Emergency All Zones Meeting" of all the Police Chiefs, Sheriffs and DAs that had been called by Attorney General Dan Lungren to explain his "narrow interpretation" of the law. (Which boiled down to 'Keep arresting and prosecuting. If they use 215 as a defense we'll hassle the doctor.') Hallinan —the only elected official in the state who had supported Prop 215— stood up during the Q&A session to urge his colleagues to involve their departments of public health in implementing the new law. "Kayo" had been a boxer —fought Cassius Clay in an Olympic trial, if memory serves. Smoldering glares from 350 cops didn't faze him.

Nine months from now the state will give birth to MCRSA. Medical cannabis users will pay outrageous add-on costs to the Administrative State, and get nothing in return except a "right" no one should have to pay for.

A powerful one-word legacy

George Weinberg's obituary in the New York Times described him as "the psychotherapist who, in the mid-1960s, observed the discomfort that some of his colleagues exhibited around gay men and women and invented a word to describe it — homophobia." This is from the informative account by William Grimes:

A group of colleagues, learning that a friend he was bringing to a party was a lesbian, asked that he disinvite her. He sensed not just dislike, he said, but also fear — a fear so extreme that it suggested some of the characteristics of a phobia.

“I coined the word homophobia to mean it was a phobia about homosexuals,” Dr. Weinberg told Gregory M. Herek, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, in 1998. “It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion,,,

The invention of the term was “a milestone,” Dr. Herek wrote in the journal Sexuality Research & Social Policy in 2004. “It crystallized the experiences of rejection, hostility and invisibility that homosexual men and women in mid-20th-century North America had experienced throughout their lives.

“The term stood a central assumption of heterosexual society on its head,” he continued, “by locating the ‘problem’ of homosexuality not in homosexual people, but in heterosexuals who were intolerant of gay men and lesbians.”

Dr. Weinberg discussed his ideas with the gay activists Jack Nichols and Lige Clarke, who used the new term in a column they wrote for Screw magazine on May 5, 1969, discussing the fear felt by straight men that they might be gay. It was the word’s first appearance in print.

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