Pot stores in Massachusetts

Next week will have 2 recreational weed stores opening in MA, the first on the East Coast. MA has spent 2 years talking about this since legalization, and they ended up with the model the other states have adopted. Apparently they like talking about things a lot.

Things will go well. The media coverage (look at that market) will be huge, and naturally the stores will run out of product. Prices will be high. But, the important thing is the media, the frantic reports of long lines, the happy faces for first legal purchases.

The next week or so will have the first day of legalization in Michigan, the media coverage here will be a smoke-in to celebrate, but stores won’t be open for a year. Michigan should be able to put together the program fairly quickly, then they’ll have the midwest market for a while.

Then, I’m watching New York and New Jersey. It’s not in their nature to be the runners-up in cultural changes, and the competition between the two to be “first” will drive them into full-blown legalization and regulation.

It’s time for the feds to back off, the states have it handled.

Life in Quartzsite

It’s quiet, warm and sunny, and the sunrises and sunsets are amazing. Not a lot of people around, though some show up everyday. Vendors are just now starting to open up. I like it this way here.

My plan is to go to Yuma early next week, where I’ll do some train watching until the noise gets to me.

Pot: Now it’s time for the feds

With the House flipped, committee memberships and leadership change dramatically, almost always for the better in the case of cannabis. Bills to address the marijuana situation have been filed, some for several years, but haven’t got any committee action. So those are ready to go.

A significant obstructionist was Pete Sessions (TX), but he got beat yesterday. Several new members are specifically on record supporting de-prohibition, but likely the leading proponent of more liberal laws got beat as well. Dana Rohrabacher (CA) was, oddly, dedicated to changing the laws despite his other political views.

The biggest headache at the federal level is the Controlled Substances Act, which lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug. That means it is highly addictive, has no known medical use, and is prone to abuse. Anyone even touching such a dangerous and illegal substance is committing a felony, banks cannot deal with such people, and standard business expenses cannot be deducted from federal taxes. Violators are subject to many years in prison, and there are thousands in jail. Those thousands are for the most part people of color, far out of proportion to expectations of equal treatment under the law.

Jeff Sessions wanted to start up the war again, but couldn’t ignore the political aspects as states legalized. His successor will hopefully at least be as careful in starting something.

So there’s a lot of work to do piled up in Congress, and we have no assurances anything will be done. It will be fun watching this.

On to Quartzsite

I’ve spent some time near Tombstone/Sierra Vista, and will now head to Q. That’ll give me a nice long drive to listen to election results.

Marijuana issues and candidates are my main interest. Michigan should pass a full-blown legalization measure. North Dakota has it on the ballot, but I doubt it will pass. However, ND is always a mystery.

Missouri has a mess on it’s hands with three proposals on the ballot, and voters can vote for all of them. And Utah voters have a medical initiative on the ballot, but direct interference/intervention by the church has messed that one up.

I’ll be watching how the House goes because if it flips, there will be a lot a cannabis activity at the national level. Presuming Michigan passes, one quarter of the people in the US will live near a retail marijuana store. It’s probably time for it to be legal at the federal level.

Willcox, AZ

I finally left Deming, night temperatures are dropping a bit. High on my list was a stop in Willcox for some BBQ, but the restaurant had a fire last May and isn’t re-opened yet. So I’ve got one night at one of my favorite rv spots, Cattlestop RV. Since I’m the only one here, it told me that another favorite spot near Tombstone will be quiet, so I’ll head there tomorrow.

In New Mexico I held myself to 2 green chile burgers. I really wasn’t ready to leave yet, but I need to drop down a bit in elevation to avoid freezing nights.

Interesting experience in Deming

A distant relative of mine who I met when he was an infant, tracked me down to interview me on camera about the story of my mom and dad. He graduated with a degree in documentary-making (or something similar) and wanted to work on this story. So he flew to Denver and then chased me as I went south from there, winding up in Deming, where he lived on my couch for three days.

He has a load of video and computer equipment, and I sat for several few-hour sessions while he asked me questions. I’m not at all sure what the end result will be about, but am looking forward to seeing it. And given that we were basically complete strangers to one another, we had a great time.

The weather is still variable, and that’s the way it will be for a few more days, but at least it’s warmer in Deming.

Deming Tomorrow

I’ve had two weeks of rain, thunderstorms, snow, below-freezing temperatures, and almost constant cloud cover. Each of those have been mitigated lately as I work my way south and down in elevation. But as I got to Santa Fe, the wind kicked up and high-wind warnings were announced. I’m getting really sick of this crap.

I’ll be sitting in Deming, come hell or high water, for at least a week.

Canada Legalizes

Everyone will be made aware Canada legalizes pot this week. As in not being jailed for possession, not as in readily available from legal outlets. BC, which I’m most familiar with, will only have one store open on the 17th, that in Kamloops. Not to worry, BCers know how to cope with this issue.

This illustrates the difference between the US and Canada in handling these things. Canada announced the federal policy, and the provinces and other locales went to work to implement it, so that on day one at least a few stores nationwide are open, and others are in process for licenses. The first stores become the stars of the media, with shots of long lines of customers, ominous threats of “running out” of product, police interviews to assure the public that all is under control, and happy faces behind the counter.

Kamloops is a great choice in BC, even over Vancouver or Victoria. It’s in the Okanogan, famous for wine grapes, and pot, which extends well into Washington state. It’s high latitude means long bright summer days, but freezes can come early. As good for cannabis as it’s good for grapes.

Like the US, the provinces have come up with variations that are interesting, and it will be informative to compare what they come up with.

And still…

There was a lot of snow and it was cold (21F), so I hang on for yet another day. Primarily because I have a pass in front of me 3000 feet higher than I am. Tomorrow it will just as cold, but the skies will be sunny and the snow melted away today. There might be some rain here and there in front of me, but the main pattern has passed.

Still in Pueblo West

I got caught in a pincher. Very cold air from the north would have pushed me quickly to the south. But a wet disturbance was coming from the south. I was trapped.

So tomorrow it snows here, anything from a dusting to a foot. On Monday the sun will come out and I’m heading south to Deming. That’s the plan.