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by Peter Moskos

March 5, 2011

Brokeback Marijuana

It amazes me that all those rugged western cowboy can get all Big State when it comes to drugs (actually, nothing really amazes me in the war on the drugs).

The headline reads: In Montana, an Economic Boom Faces Repeal Effort. Really? Because you'd think they wouldn't be in a position to shut down money-making agriculture.
A resurgent Republican majority elected last fall is leading a drive to repeal the six-year-old voter-approved statute permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which opponents argue is promoting recreational use and crime.
Promoting recreational use? Who cares. Ain't much else to do with all that nature. And maybe fewer people will take meth. Perhaps they problem is that they've become too dependent on taking our money. That's what they're really addicted to. Talk about a culture of poverty.

As to legal marijuana promoting crime? I'd like to see some of those pesky "facts." [A quick search of Montana crime rates shows less crime than six years ago.]

An industry group of marijuana growers (probably exaggerating a bit, but whatever) claims they spend $12 million annually around the state and created 1,400 (legal) jobs.

Montana has 975,000 people.

975,000 people.

Man oh man... The Borough of Queens has 2.3 million people. 165,000 people live in my neighborhood.

I guess Montana is so booming that they can do without their one free-market agricultural success story. I mean, who needs to work if you get $380 million in federal farm welfare last year.

It's a shame Montana, Wyoming, and the two Dakotas--with a combined population of 3 million--get 8 senators to represent their world-view of small government and pseudo "self-sufficiency."

These four states collectively sucked up $1.9 billion in farm welfare in 2009. They wouldn't survive without government largess. Maybe we should take some of that dole away, at least until they reconsider their position on profit-making agriculture.

And yet not surprisingly, the same people who shout loudest again big government are really just closeted. These welfare queens (here's a good story) say they hate Washington, but then they get a look at all sexy green coming from D.C., and they say, "I just can't quit you!"


Bent Society said...

Do zombies toke?


Criminologist exposes official 27 year UK Home Office Government scientific hoax. Beat policing model was in fact based on two false premises. This detailed article is a must for all policing myth-busters.

PCM said...

"Exposes" and "hoax" are a bit strong, as the article explains. But it is indeed a great article! Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

It's a wonderful academic explanation of what many cops know: academic "facts" are too often bullshit.

It's very entertainingly written, too.

My own pet peeve in academic police literature is when 40-year-old sources are cited without further analysis or comment, as if policing hasn't had any scientifically revolutionary (to use Kuhn's concept) changes in the past decades.

David said...


Please read The Federalist Papers to understand why these four states get 2 Senators each.

Your comments on farm welfare are spot on.

I enjoy your work although I disagree with you frequently. After completing undergrad at Towson I lived in the Eastern (ca. 1980-82) with a couple of UofB law students who knew a couple of Western patrolmen from their undergrad days. Their stories were a little rougher than your book.

PCM said...

I've read (some of) the Federalists Papers. I get the logic...

But in 1790 (I just looked this up) the biggest state (Virginia) had 750,000 people and the smallest well established state (Del) had 59,000. (Tenn was actually much smaller, but it was frontier and quickly grew).

That's a 13:1 ratio.

Today the biggest state (Cal) has 37 million and smallest state (Wy) has 544,000. That's a 68:1 ratio! Seven states have less than a million. At some point it becomes absurd and makes a joke of equal representation. I'd put a 1 mil minimum on being a state (but grandfather in Vermont).

And I'm glad you enjoy my work... especially *because* you disagree with me frequently!

On Balto circa 1980: Cops were rougher back them. Not necessarily better. But a hell of a lot more brutal.

In 1980, by the way, the Eastern probable had twice or three times as many residents as it does today. Think about that. ...it's like they vanished. To be replaced with vacants, weeds, feral animals, and tumbleweeds (OK, I never saw the latter).

David said...


According to some population statistics I have handy, in 1970 B'more City had a population of 905,787, in 1980 it was 786,775, in 2009 it's estimated at 637,417. An amazing exodus.

PCM said...

The 2010 number came in and where less than expected (and hoped for).

Most of those people left from the places like the Eastern and Western. I know the Eastern District lost 30% of it's population between 1990 and 2000 alone (I crunched the census numbers for my book). That's huge.

If you lose 30% a decade for three decades, that's a 65% decline.

(cue tumbleweeds)