Thadeus Greenson's column ("The Black Market Legacy," May 30) is one of the worst products of the MSM in this current neo-prohibitionist era, with little linkage among the facts presented ... (And, the NCJ likely only continues to exist thanks to the region's cannabis industry dollars!) Indeed, an alternative headline that would be at least equally true of the appalling incident being decried here would be, "The Drug War Legacy," which opinion articles like this at least indirectly continue to justify. Cue Gov. Newsom's threat to use the National Guard against northern Cali farmers.
Under the current "legalization (with extreme regs)" period, all four participants in the event described by Kimberly Wear ("So Sad," May 30) are literally prohibited from local "rec" retailers since you have to be 21 to purchase cannabis. Yet it is a fact that most cannabis users since the 1960s begin experimenting with cannabis as young to middle teenagers. What to do? The black market.
Furthermore, the average price of cannabis products in the "legal" market is about 45 percent higher due to a panoply of state and local greed/sin taxes, along with staggering permitting/licensing fees. As we know, Eric Garner of NYC was choked to death by cops on suspicion of selling "black market" cigarettes, for which there is huge demand because of the greed/sin taxes attached to that "legal" product.
There is much more that could/should be said about the opinions expressed in "The Black Market Legacy" but I'll conclude by stating the obvious: The cannabis black market will persist locally/nationally/globally as long as a plant that has never caused a single overdose in the history of the world is treated by governments as if it were equivalent to heroin or plutonium. In the real world, the black market.
Fred Krissman, Eureka
The Journal recently published a column calling for the end to the black (cannabis) market in response to the tragic murder of a local teenager during a drug deal gone bad ("The Black Market's Legacy," May 30). The column response was certainly understandable. However, such a call was unrealistic in that you are fighting human nature, Humboldt County has a median household income of around $46,000 compared with California as a whole at more than $71,000. The cannabis market is so regulated and taxed that those making an average salary often can't afford the prices in the legal market. I am reminded of past efforts by the feds to end the then completely illegal market. Black helicopters, helmeted armed feds. How did that work out?
Humboldt County is experiencing poverty, high housing costs and an out-of-control opioid and crank epidemic. There's no magic bullet for control of the black cannabis market. That has been tried and resulted in abject failure. If you can control black markets, you would also be able to eliminate prostitution, exploitation of women, war and greed. Efforts at control are an attempt to counter the dark side of human nature. People want to get high to escape their mundane lives. If a drug is readily available at half the price of a regulated market, people will turn to it, despite heartfelt admonitions to support the legal market. That battle was lost when Cain smote his brother with a club. The bloodshed and futility of young people dying needlessly was decried then, just as now.
Don't mistake my pessimistic assessment of human nature for advocacy for the black market. Don't shoot the messenger. Perhaps frustration should be directed at the maternity ward at St. Joseph Hospital. There are nascent drug addicts, prostitutes, abusers and, yes, future black market dealers among those swaddled infants.
John Dillon, Eureka