WA Homegrow?

Washington doesn’t allow homegrown marijuana. I’ve been watching the bills for a few years trying to change this law, and just a few moments ago the bill to legalize was passed out of committee. A huge advancement.

People have been home growing in Washington for over 50 years and will continue to do so whether there is a law or not. What WA gets is that it no longer is the odd state that doesn’t allow homegrow.


Here I am again. I have some work to be done on my RV at Jimmy’s, which I’ll write about later. Meantime I’m avoiding Quartzsite right now because I don’t like being there while the tent show is going on. I’ll get to Q when the crowds go away.

It will be cold here, more than I usually like.

New Mexico Marijuana

I’ll be watching the project to pass a legalized cannabis law in New Mexico, the 12th state to do so, the second by legislative action and not by citizen initiative. The proposed bill was filed yesterday in advance of the session which opens Monday.

A good article can be read here. I skimmed the bill last night and am quite impressed with what they are trying to do.

A recent poll shows 75% approval by citizens, it has the full support of the new governor, and a similar bill passed the House, but failed the Senate last year. The biggest risk is this is a 30-day session; no state has tried to pass such a law in such a short time.

The proposed bill is very well done. It avoids the pitfalls experienced in other states, contains the latest thinking on social equity, and protects and leverages the existing medical market quite nicely. First day of retail sales will be Jul 1, 2021. Taxes will be on the low side in the proposed bill, but those are subject to discussion before it passes.

Now, the bulk of the details are pushed off to a new steering committee and a regulatory agency to write the actual rules. I presume they checked with the other western states to see exactly the scope of this. And someone is going to point out there aren’t any cost figures in the bill, to be figured out later, I guess.

Intriguing to me, as the Sun article points out, is that the growing region of the state is Southern New Mexico: Las Cruces, Deming, Hatch, Silver City, and Lordsburg. So Deming could get a new industry. A lot of the current medical grows are in the Albuquerque area, but it’s a small program.

The NM market is small. Las Cruces stores would serve El Paso and a hunk of West Texas, as well as being the first legal stop on I-10 coming from the east. I anticipate a scattering of shops all along I-10 through the state (A Bowlin’s pot shop?), so the tourist market will be there.

I’ll be reading the bill this weekend, as will the reporters that cover such things, and mention anything interesting I see.

Marathon, TX

I’ve been driving for three days in a fog bank. West Texas is bad enough, but to not see anything but the road is miserable. But, tonight a rain storm comes in. To avoid it I’m resting for two nights in Marathon.

I like parking at Marathon Motel and RV because of it’s location, but it’s fairly small and popular (closest to Big Bend). They were filled up but I could dry-camp out back. Great spot off the highway and a lot of bird activity.

Now to see if the thunderstorms actually happen…

Laredo; back on the road

I’m glad I’m back to moving again, and happy to be headed for Deming.

The RGV has become a pain in the butt with traffic and people. It used to be you could avoid all that, but the population boom means more cars on their (in)famous expressway system. And harder on the frontage roads. Same problem as everywhere: too damn many people.

Now I spend a few days in west Texas, moving as weather allows.

Texas pot

Texas has some of the most strict and draconian anti-marijuana laws in the country, down there with Idaho and Mississippi. So it was a surprise when it came to light that arrests for cannabis are down about 50%. Since hemp was legalized.

The storyline here is that prosecutors claim that they can’t prove someone has been arrested with illegal marijuana or legal hemp. Hemp is arbitrarily defined has having .3% THC content, marijuana anything greater. But in court the THC content must be proven, and the state crime labs claim they can tell if THC is present, but not the quantity. So prosecutors drop the cases.

Every legal state, and most medical states, have lab testing built into their laws. At the least, the THC levels are measured. Commonly seen THC levels in retail stores runs from around 13% to 24%, with some cultivars measuring 30%. Some consumers always pick the highest-testing product in the store, and some stores charge more for higher THC levels. Measuring THC levels in cannabis is universal everywhere.

Obviously, if you get arrested for cannabis in Texas simply claim that those joints are hemp, not marijuana. The state is incapable of proving otherwise.

Illinois is a bit different

I’m impressed with how Illinois rolled out it’s pot legalization program. There are far more people standing in lines around the state than I’ve seen before, far more than possibly could be served by any store. The day was marked by politicians showing up (governor’s office, legislators, mayors, aldermen) and participating. The sheer number of folks is remarkable.

I don’t think they were standing in a mile-long line (quiet, orderly, few police needed) to buy an eighth of weed (which they probably wouldn’t get) but to make a statement. Today was a demonstration. A display against the war on drugs. Nixon started it with his vendetta against the black rights movement and the anti-war hippies. Nancy Reagan had her “Just Say No” campaign. Joe Biden had his lock ’em up mass incarceration philosophy.

These were people proclaiming their dissatisfaction with those policies, not just waiting to buy some pot to get high. It was a notable day in Chicago, not just about some new stores opening up…

Illinois Pot is legal

Sales began this morning at 0600 in Illinois, the 11th state to legalize and the first state to do so by legislative action, not by citizen petition. There are about 30 stores open today state-wide, around half in the Chicago area.

The lines are very long, by far the longest I’ve seen on other opening days. The shops will run out of inventory very quickly despite extra effort the last month to stock up. And it’s about 20 degrees out there.

But I doubt the Lt. Governor of Illinois had to wait in the cold to make her purchase on the first day.

Illinois and Michigan (they opened on Dec 1) both have the gold-standard laws and regulations right now. Any other states considering this move will be looking at their work for a successful implementation. While Illinois opens today with 30 stores, they are only planning for 185 by the end of the year, and 500 maximum. This is too few. WA, OR, and CO have about that many each, and there are a lot more people in Illinois. That’s an easy one to fix, though.

And Illinois is the first state to have a “social equity” program in place that has a chance of actually working. Everyone in policy circles is watching that in particular.

As expected, prices are extremely high, about twice what you’d pay in other states at “regular” pot shops. Taxes are on the low side, so once the market settles down, costs should go down a lot.

Illinois and Michigan have 5 bordering prohibition states, which expands their market reach considerably.

Linn, Texas

Linn is a named spot in the RGV north of Edinburg, out in the country about 20 miles. It doesn’t have expressways, arterials, and masses of people and cars, yet I’m close to stores and the birding places.

The place I had in Los Fresnos was one of the worst RV “resorts” I’ve had. Noisy neighbors, ugly view, heavy traffic, and overpriced. This will be a welcome quiet place for at least a week.

Los Fresnos

Los Fresnos is at the south end of the Rio Grande Valley, on TX100 on the way to Port Isabel. It’s hot, humid, mosquitoes are everywhere, as are fire ants. Typical RGV, but a “cold” front is coming through tonight which should help.