Marijuana officially became a fully legal product for purchase by adults on July 1st, a year and a half after voters passed a referendum legalizing it. The only problem was that on July 1st there wasn't a single place in Massachusetts where you could buy it, since no actual licenses to sell pot have been granted to any outlet anywhere in the state.
Let's face it, legal marijuana in Massachusetts has been a contemptible farce.
There was never any excuse for the long delay in setting up the infrastructure to sell marijuana legally. I still don't know why the state simply didn't hand the project over to the industry that has been successfully and safely selling intoxicants for hundreds of years - liquor stores. Why didn't the legislature just set a date when every licensed liquor store could start selling weed along with the intoxicants they already sell - buds with your Budweiser, so to speak?
But alas, they had to go and create a whole new system of tightly regulated specialty stores, resulting in a crony capitalist nightmare of heavily regulated, often politically privileged sellers, protected from competition by strict zoning rules and artificial caps on the number of competitors.
All of which was a complete waste of time. Since other states have already legalized pot, we needed only to copy whatever they did, with perhaps a few minor alterations due to any circumstances unique to this state. However, the legislators had to go out and try to re-invent the wheel, and when they had finished, the wheel was square and there was no marijuana to buy. But the powers that be now promise they will get their act together and marijuana maybe might be available by the end of July, or sometime in August, or surely by early September....
Whatever happens, we've been pretty much assured that the price will be expensive. That has certainly been true with the medical marijuana market, which sells at prices well above what the black market charges. For example, right now I could make a phone call and get an ounce of primo-kush for $200. At the medical marijuana store, the price is $350 per ounce. Do you think the black market is going to disappear with that kinda price discrepancy?
Recreational marijuana is expected to be even more expensive than medical marijuana. One of the often stated goals of legalization was to get the mob and other undesirables out of the marijuana business, but thanks to greedhead politicians, we now have the worst of both worlds - an overpriced, politically corrupt legal industry while the old, criminal underground market continues to thrive.
When I was a kid toking my first tokes with my delinquent buddies, we all assumed it was a certainty that when we got older and our generation was in charge of things, that we would absolutely legalize marijuana. I guess most members of the government these days are within ten years or so of my age, so I suppose my generation actually has taken over. Frankly, I sorta hoped that the sight would be more impressive.
For decades my generation dragged our feet and did little or nothing to legalize weed in Massachusetts, with the exception of brave crusaders like Terry Franklin, Aaron Wilson and Dick Evans. Now at last legalization has finally happened, better late than never, and it is a beautiful thing that people will no longer go to jail anymore for smoking marijuana.
But aside from that, the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts has been a huge disappointment.
At least to humans. The UMass ducks don't care.
Dinosauric dimensions in Greenfield.