It does really seem that Marijuana is a gateway drug, although not in the sense that that claim was initially made. In fact, as far as self-medication and recreational pharmaceuticals trends and causalities are concerned, it seems that cannabis in all its forms is as much of a gateway to other substances as is bubble gum. The serious abuse gateways seem to be tobacco and alcohol.
My current claim about the gateway-ness of cannabis is more of a claim about behaviour patterns, especially as influenced by ill-considerred laws. This was blatantly true back in the ’60s and ’70s, as so many of my cohorts mistakenly assumed that government lies (and make no mistake there — they were lies) about substance abuse were uniform. To correct for the gross misinformation, we took to wearing buttons that said “Speed Kills” so that we were all warned that amphetamines were really and truly dangerous. This warning also helped to establish a framework that substances being abused coverred a wide spectrum — experience with one was not a reliable indicator of how another might affect users.
Since cannabis was illegal, to get some one had to trade with people who might also traffic in other dangerous substances. Thus marijuana openned the traffic gateway to other substances.
Today, the US federal government continues to force cannabis to maintain its role as a traffic gateway to illegal businesses even though it is legal to grow, trade, and consume in Colorado.
I suggest that it is time for Colorado to double down on its innovative policies. I propose the formation of the Money Transfer Agency (MTA) of the State of Colorado. The MTA would be in many ways like a bank, while being different enough to operate outside the federal banking laws. It would operate like this:
- Every account of the MTA must be owned by a single legal entity (person or corporation) established in the state, and have one or more registerred controllers who must have had a background check done.
- Any entity (with or without an account) may deposit any amount of cash to any account.
- An account controller may electronically effect transfer of funds to any other account.
- An account controller may personally withdraw cash from the account.
- The MTA may use money held in trust to acquire any sufficiently liquid bonds or notes issued by governments or their agencies within the state.
This arrangement would permit the following:
- Cannabis consumers can open accounts, and make regular deposits.
- Consumers can transfer money to retailers.
- Retailers can transfer money to satisfy tax and regulatory demands at any level within the state.
- Retailers, growers, and processors can transfer money to their respective suppliers.
- Brokers can set up operations to receive money transfers, make cash withdrawals, and make payments to entities outside the state.
Such a system would simultaneously enhance growth of legitimate businesses while reducing exposure to both theft of the money and illegal transfers of product out of state.