Sunday, December 30, 2018

Just how messed up is California?

When I was a wee lad, California shone like a beacon for the rest of the country, attracting people from sea to shining sea.  Those days are long gone as the State has devolved into a wreck of epic proportions.  Here are two vignettes showing just how jacked up the Golden State is.

Item the first: No pets for you!

Rod emails to point out that there is seemingly nothing so mundane as to avoid the all seeing gaze of the California Government:
California will put a muzzle on the retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits beginning Tuesday, the byproduct of a new law designed to curtail puppy mills and expand pet protections.

The legislation, Assembly Bill 485, says stores can sell the animals only if they come from local rescue groups, shelters and animal control agencies.
This won't effect the upper middle class, of course - they get their pure bred pups directly from "good" breeders.  Instead, it's making it harder for poorer people to get pets for their kids.  The "Progressives" became anti-progressive so gradually that people didn't notice.  This sort of Upper Middle Class SWPL bull hockey is likely the biggest reason for the cratering of the State.

The State's "High Speed Rail" to nowhere project is cut from the same cloth.

Item the second: No pot for you!

California legalized pot with great fanfare, and the State budgeted based on expected large tax revenues from legal pot sales.  The sales (and taxes) are not materializing:
"After voters legalized marijuana two years ago under Proposition 64, state officials estimated in there would be as many as 6,000 cannabis shops licensed in the first few years. But the state Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued just 547 temporary and annual licenses to marijuana retail stores and dispensaries," the Los Angeles Times reported
Welcome to the world of regulations and taxes, potheads. 
Potheads said for years "legalize it." 
Be careful of what you wish for. 
“The cannabis industry is being choked by California’s penchant for over-regulation. It’s impossible to solve all of the problems without a drastic rewrite of the law, which is not in the cards for the foreseeable future,” Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, told the Times.
Not only has the typical California excess and opaque regulation reduced the number of shops by 90%, the State, Local, and Excise taxes raise the price of legal weed above the price of black market weed.  So getting it from Your Guy is not only more convenient but it's less expensive.

And the State wonders why tax revenue is short $150M?  The stupid state can't even sell dope to stoners.


ASM826 said...

Oh wow, man, like that's really heavy.

Aesop said...

The price of legal weed will always be higher than black market weed, unless the price of legal weed drops to $0, and government gives it away.

This is because the cartels are in business to stay in business, and they'll eat the short-term loss to drive legal weed shops under, exactly like they're doing.

Almost like Adam Smith was onto something in 1776.

Legalizing weed isn't the solution to anything - as predicted - and the problem in the first place is that there's any demand for it.

LindaG said...

I don't see how selling animals that only come from rescues and such, will curtail puppy mills, etc. Many rescues come from just such places.

Good grief.

xmaddad1 said...

How could you not for see this, remember the .gov took over a brothel for tax reasons and could not sell booze and a$$. They lost money and ended up giving it back to the guy they took it over from. That tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about government.

Ratus said...

I'm surprised that California doesn't have subsidized weed for low income families.


Unknown said...

After legalization in Oregon, an enormous number of pot stores opened up. Then the price crashed due to oversupply. Everybody expects a shakeout among farmers, processors, and sellers.

In the meantime the state is raking in far more tax revenue than originally predicted. Right now they're trying to crack down on pot being illegally exported to other states.

My friends who smoke say that pot is of far higher quality, and lower price, than they can remember - for what that's worth.

waepnedmann said...

Medical marijuana is a joke.
Medical trials show marijuana is not effective in treating pain, but actually increases the perception of pain.
No. I am not talking about Julio or your uncle Vern saying, "Wow, man this is good stuff."
I am talking about real doctors doing double-blind studies with measured amounts of THC.
Yeah, it helps cancer patients undergoing chemo with their appetite. They have pills/capsules in measured dosages for this. You get them from a real doctor.
My doc says the CBD creams and such have no proven studies showing that they help with joint pain.
Anybody ever heard of the placebo effect?
Then there are the carcinogens involved in smoking the stuff. The last studies I saw showed that the carcinogen level for smoking marijuana is twenty times the level of tobacco.
And then there is getting killed by the fifteen year-olds who get together and decide it would be a good idea to rob Uncle Vern because Uncle Vern has a card and grows medical marijuana for nebulous pain. He also sells his excess product, so he has cash in substantial quantities in his home and processed marijuana for his clients.
Drugs, cash, and fifteen year-olds with guns. What can go wrong.
How about two dead separate Uncle Verns and six fifteen year-olds in prison.
Hey! Let's rob Uncle Vern! They said it will be fun!
No. Medical marijuana is not a joke.
It is an evil.
Ask me how I know.

LSP said...

Yet another case study in everything the left touches turns to sh*t. How does it end?

Maybe Russia serves as a model, the country that got away from the talons of the beast.

Regardless, it's all a larf untill you run out of other people's cash.

waepnedmann said...

Hit a sore spot.
An inanimate object cannnot be evil.
The people writing the laws are either evil or do not think about the law of unintended consequences.
Or, they are evil and understand the consequences perfectly well.
I am guessing they are not stupid.
It is all about power.
Everything else follows.

How messed up is California?

Let me count the ways: ...
How many electrons can I use?

ASM826 said...

Waeponedmann, Glad you caught that. My thoughts on pot are similar to my thoughts on guns and liquor. Passing laws and creating an illegal subculture is the problem. Would it be better if people did not smoke pot? Yes. Would it be better if people didn't drink alcohol? Yes. However, prohibition fails. It failed with booze the same way it has failed again. It creates an artificial market, high prices, organized crime, etc. How many murders happened during Prohibition, for money or alcohol? Untaxed alcohol, moonshine, is still a problem where I live. Why? Because hight taxes create a market for the homemade stuff. And we all could go on all day about the effects of gun laws.

Borepatch said...

Waepnedmann, if you want to write a whole post on this you'd be welcome to. Email it to me and I'll post it as a guest post.

Glen Filthie said...

None a my business, BP, I’m just curious: how much did you pay for Wolfgang? He’s purebred, right? My friends up here in Canada bought their German Sheps from a breeder in Germany! Over the internet too! Their last one was 7000 beans! I nearly fell over when they told me that.

I got hopping mad down at the SPCA when I had to shell out 400 for Mort and he is just a farm mutt. He’s dumber than I am! If those froots and nuts in Cali want to help the animal shelters they’d do everyone a favour by ‘heping’ someone else - preferably themselves and on their own dime too.

Aesop said...

Waeponedmann, Glad you caught that. My thoughts on pot are similar to my thoughts on guns and liquor. Passing laws and creating an illegal subculture is the problem. Would it be better if people did not smoke pot? Yes. Would it be better if people didn't drink alcohol? Yes. However, prohibition fails. It failed with booze the same way it has failed again. It creates an artificial market, high prices, organized crime, etc. How many murders happened during Prohibition, for money or alcohol? Untaxed alcohol, moonshine, is still a problem where I live. Why? Because hight taxes create a market for the homemade stuff. And we all could go on all day about the effects of gun laws.

ASM826 has pegged the meter and will win the 2018 Unintended Irony Awardin a walkaway, just about the time he realizes he has made the perfect rational and logical argument for getting rid of laws against murder.
Because prohibition never works.

Well-played, sir!
That's quite a Brave New World for which you've inadvertently advocated.

The crowd will now watch as you extricate yourself from this predicament.

Borepatch said...

Aesop, let me try:

Drugs: Malum Prohibitum

Murder: Malum in se

This is really the difference between conservative and libertarian philosophies - conservatives see malum prohibitum as a valid arena for the state while libertarians don't. I've rarely run across anyone who argues malum in se really isn't a legitimate area of governmental interest, although I posted about one example here:

How'd I do? I'd love to have a beer and yak about this if you're ever near Mordor on The Potomac.

Aesop said...

Poorly, because both those legal concepts are pre-empted philosophically before that point.

This is going to turn into a blogpost, probably tomorrow, because the Rose Parade isn't enough to keep me occupied tomorrow, and I won't be venturing out tonight either.

Points to ponder:
What rights do I/you/we/humans have (or ought to)?
What are their rightful limits?
May government/society properly prohibit anything?
Why, or why not?
If so, where do you draw any limits on that power?
Why, or why not?

Bear well in mind any answers, in light of this dicta from one of the Authors of the current scheme:
"Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net.
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

I've blogged on why the laissez faire argument against drug laws is so much theoretical codswallop.

I would go further, and note that what you perceive to be malum prohibitum drug laws are, in fact, malum in se laws.
Drugs are bad because they are bad, and arguments that the laws are malum prohibitum are made from the untenable standpoint of arguing that unicorns are real people, and that human nature isn't.

And will expand on that thesis at length (on my site, rather than blather on in your comments spot) with illustrations from no farther away than the last two night's shifts in the E.D.

ASM826 said...


Laws against murder don't prevent murder. They just provide penalties if you get caught. You, me, anyone, can commit one murder. What stops us isn't any law, what stops us is our personal morality. Our sense of what constitutes decent behavior, based on our upbringing and beliefs, is the check on most of our behavior. It is why we don't commit assaults, robberies, littering, and as you mention, murder.

Anyway, "prohibition" as commonly understood refers to laws on personal behavior usually related to pleasure or entertainment. Drinking alcohol, doing drugs, sexual behavior, for example. Those laws make the goods or services more difficult to acquire. This never results in an elimination of the activity, it just raises the price.

Scarcity of goods or services by any means always has that effect in the marketplace. If heroin was legalized and freely available, the price would plummet. Whether the outcome would good or bad is immaterial to this effect. Current prices are a result of artificial constraints on the market.

Government intervention in the form of law and law enforcement raises prices, make selling more profitable, brings in criminals willing to take the associated risks (Al Capone being one example), but never succeeds in eliminating the activity. This creates a larger law enforcement presence, sometimes higher penalties, and a greater burden on the citizens paying the taxes to support the ongoing efforts.

We are not winning the "War on Drugs". It would make more sense to legalize it and give it away to anyone that wanted it. Property theft and strong arm robbery would drop because most of that is related to drug seekers trying to get money to make purchases. Some people would die from increased use, but most would continue to use at whatever level provided them with the kick they seek. Nothing about the drug use would change except the ongoing cost of police, courts, and jails would be removed.

This isn't even a theoretical argument. Portugal did this 16 years ago and there is statistical data available. They decriminalized everything from pot to heroin. Drug use has dropped, HIV infection rates are way down, and deaths from overdoses are rare. The expected result of skyrocketing drug use and resulting deaths did not occur.

This not an argument that drug use is a good thing. Alcohol when abused has lot of very destructive side effects. Long term sustained drinking will kill. Tobacco still causes the premature death of tens of thousands every year. Pot makes people lethargic and may, as mentioned in the previous comments, may be far worse to smoke than tobacco. Opioids, amphetamines, and barbiturates all can destroy the users lives, ruining their productivity, their relationships, and their health.

My argument is simply that laws against their use have failed to effect usage rates and effectively result in the militarization of the police, increased incarceration rates, additional tax burdens, and higher crime rates.

I'm with Borepatch. If a chance to sit around the fire, sip a little bourbon, and discuss this along with all the rest of the world's problems every came up, count me in.

Aesop said...

You're tap-dancing around the problem.

If something is against the law, it's prohibited.
Prohibiting something is prohibition.
I have 407 dictionaries on my side there.
Trying to plead the misunderstanding of the unwashed mob as equaling something magically other than that reality won't cut it, sir.

No law prevents its own violation, nor can ever do so.
If your argument is (and yours is) arguing that anything that falls short of absolute perfection means it's an utter utilitarian failure, and therefore suspect, then all law is necessarily undone by that standard.
I plead the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, and your local police blotters.
Everything from murder to spitting on the sidewalk falls by the wayside on utilitarian grounds of non-violation.

If any law must never be violated to be valid and reasonable, then no law in human history is valid.

If, instead, laws are in place to let the generally law-abiding know where the boundaries are, then the fact that some people chose to drive at the guardrails at full speed, and hurtle off the cliff, doesn't make the guardrail stupid.
It only points out the stupidity and culpability of the person about to demonstrate Failure To Fly, with the grace of a Wile E. Coyote scheme gone bad.

The question you're side-stepping is whether any society has any right to make any laws governing human behavior, and to enforce them.
If the answer is yes, the next question is whether there any limitations on that right, how we ought to derive them, and what they are.
If the answer is no, you are advocating anarchy.

There are no further options.

At the moment, your argument is that one set of laws (prohibiting the use etc. of drugs) fails miserably, so it ought to be scrapped, but that laws against murder, having failed non-stop from Cain & Abel to the present, ought to be retained. Because reasons.

You have reduced the law to being mere ice cream flavors, and decided you like chocolate, but hate vanilla. And on no more basis that personal preference.

That philosophy is morally bankrupt, and philosophically indefensible.
You will secure the universal acclaim of chocolate lovers, and the universal opprobrium of vanilla-philes, but neither group's opinion (and that's all it is) has any bearing on the subject, or the philosophical underpinnings of the discussion.

You are, in short, trying to score a run, having skipped batting, hitting the ball in play, or tagging the first three bases.

No points.

As earlier noted, you have fire-hosed out the very foundations of your own original point, and undone any underpinning for making any laws whatsoever. (Other than, perhaps, the Law Of Gravity.)

Let's assume you didn't mean to do that.
Nor to outright advocate for total anarchy.

So, assuming you think that laws can be enacted and enforced at all, how is one set of laws bad, and another good?
And why?
(Besides that you like one, but not the other.) What's the objective standard you would point to?

Aesop said...

"It would make more sense to legalize it and give it away to anyone that wanted it."

So, to be absolutely clear, you're against government going after Al Capone or Pablo Escobar for wantonly violating laws enacted by the directly-elected representatives of the people in a republic, including murder, because that militarizes the police, but you're in favor of using the IRS to demand, at gunpoint if necessary, and on pain of prison or death, that I pay taxes to provide unlimited drugs to whomever should wish them, from out of the fruits of my labor?

You've simply swapped one criminal enterprise for another, waved your magic wand over it, and called it "better".

Best wishes defending that plan.

ASM826 said...


A quick check shows you are clearly right on the definition of the word "prohibition". I did not consider that to be the primary meaning of the word. I was incorrect.

I am in favor of the rule of law. We, as a society, decide what laws are good or bad, and occasionally change our collective mind. The moral limits on the society's right to make laws are the inalienable rights of the individual. We fought a war about this once.

The U.S. passed and then repealed laws against the use of alcohol. The Volstead Act was not repealed because alcohol consumption is a good thing. It was repealed because it turned out to be unenforceable on a practical level. The side effects of enforcement, the number of people that chose to violate the law, and the associated costs, all lead to the repeal.

It is this same utilitarian argument I am making for repeal of laws related to recreational use of drugs. That puts me in a minority viewpoint on this subject. I know that many people are opposed to this on moral grounds. That means that, whatever my views are, they will not become law. I am not violating those laws. I am not suggesting those laws be violated. I am not suggesting the government doesn't have the power to pass those laws. I am stating my view that I think those laws have more negative effects than positive and I would like to see the laws changed.

Sometimes laws are validly written and yet completely immoral and it is a moral imperative to break those laws. I am not suggesting the drug laws fall under this argument, I raise it as example of an objective moral standard outside of the written law that puts the onus on the individual to consider his/her conscience before following a law. A law legalizing slavery, for example, is a law that should be broken.

Laws are exactly like ice cream flavors. We pick them because under the system we have, 50.01 of the people get to decide for the other 49.99 what flavors get served.

And every law, in the end, is enforced with the power of the state. From tax laws to EPA regulations to traffic laws, if you violate those laws, men with guns will come to enforce them.

And to conclude for now, I did not suggest that I was opposed to going after Al Capone or Pablo Escobar for wantonly violating laws enacted by the directly-elected representatives of the people in a republic, including murder, I suggested that the laws we had written had the unintended consequence of creating the conditions that allowed those men and men like them to gain criminal power in the first place. I firmly believe that looking at the actual results that our laws produce is important as we make decisions for the future.

Will said...

One of the problems that CA .gov is running into is the NIMBY Effect. My local town seems to be working on proactively banning any pot dispensing businesses from opening within it's borders. The reputation they are developing for various bad side effects of the particular crowd they tend to draw, and a perception of robberies at the shops and nearby businesses being common, seems to be a strike against them.

Aesop said...

Capone, Escobar, and every other crook, was a crook before the laws about substances.
The Mob was running numbers, selling protection, loan sharking, and running prostitutes long before the Volstead Act, and ever since.

And as we never fought a war on alcohol nor drugs, of course the imaginary ones have never worked.

The (main, not sole) problem with alcohol prohibition was that most people were insurgents, considering the substance in question had been a part of daily life for most of them for their entire adult lives. Speakeasy bars ran non-stop for the duration of its enactment, and simply made foreign travel a great idea. Its civilization-long legality is still one of the greatest banes of existence, worldwide, and as far back as records exist.

Such is not the case with drugs, nor really ever was.
There was a brief period between roughly 1800 and 1900 when chemistry developed most of the substances as such, and it was quickly noted that they were not in any way consequence-free.

But where you are wrong is about laws: they are most certainly not like ice cream flavors, as your own example of slavery should suggest.

For one more obvious example, it isn't okay to gas Jews and make them into lampshades simply because 50.01% of Germans like the idea, even if they vote on it and say it is so.

We fought a war over that too, IIRC.

Man is not the measure of all things, including morality.
That road leads to Hell, both here and hereafter, by way of Sodom and Gomorrah.

It's not okay to cut the beating hearts out of people because the High Priest of Chupacabra says it is either.

And it's not okay to allow a chemical plague to run rampant among a people simply because standing in opposition to it is hard, nor expensive.

Childbirth is hard and expensive too, but we still don't let people abandon newborn babies on rocks at the side of the road.

All of these examples suggest that there is a moral component of any law-making that can neither be abdicated nor denied.

Rampant drug use is immoral, destructive, and societally caustic.
And drug laws are there for the same reason children aren't allowed to subsist entirely on a self-chosen diet of marshmallows and soda pop: because thinking adults are still in charge.

Imagine the response one would receive if they suggested laws against eating babies should be avoided, because the people had grown accustomed to the taste, and would be therefore hard to enforce.

This is why a wise society passes the laws they must, and only those they must. Nine yards of federal register, and 50 metric tons of state codes are quite simply an abomination on common sense, without argument.

But if you wish to thin that forest, let us start with the brush and brambles, and leave the larger trees where they're rooted.