RON HART: Jobs, and how to avoid getting them — Washington State legalizes weed

Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 05:23 PM.

Elections have consequences. Mitt Romney was poised to be president of the United States. He lost the election and ended up on the Marriott hotel chain's Board of Directors. He went from nearly being the next leader of the free world to trying to keep hotel guests from stealing from their hotel room mini-bars. 

Overlooked in the long race for president (won, as most marathons are, by a Kenyan) were some state votes on social issues. 

Washington State was the first to legalize the possession of marijuana without a doctor's prescription; Colorado followed this week. In a related story, Twinkies maker Hostess quickly emerged from bankruptcy.

Those 21 and older can now legally possess one ounce of weed, or roughly the residue in Snoop Dog’s couch cushions. Yet smoking pot in public is against the law. Since no laws have been passed on growing and distributing marijuana in the state, those who indulged must have bought their weed illegally from a pot dealer. And oh yeah, smoking pot is still a federal offense. Oh, the complexity of laws upon laws. 

This week Colorado joined Washington State in legalizing the possession of marijuana; those voting in favor (I think they marked “righteous” on the ballot) outnumbered those who voted for Obama. I guess some elements of the GOP test positive for THC as well as freedom. Denver might now change the name of the Broncos' stadium from INVESCO Field back to "Mile High Stadium."  Perhaps its NBA team could become the "Drive-thru Denver McNuggets." 

Now these states will draft regulations on pot sales that are tied to their liquor laws. And by "laws," I mean taxes. Washington State will impose a 25 percent excise tax on growers when they sell to processors and another 25 percent when processors sell to retailers.  Then, when individuals buy from retailers, you guessed it: another 25 percent, plus sales tax on the total purchase.

This is all VAT and a bag of chips.

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