This Is Your City on Drugs: How to get pols into marijuana legalization | Bleader

This Is Your City on Drugs: How to get pols into marijuana legalization


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Mick Dumke suggested recently that the city get behind marijuana legalization in some form. Which is ok with me, but how do you enthuse our fuddy, not-particularly-libertarian powers that be?

It's all about framing: who wants to be the next Bill Wirtz? Liquor distribution is one of the all-time great city and state rackets; one of my favorite articles ever to run in the Reader is Nicholas Day's explanation of how Illinois beer distributors and the laws that protect them alienated Bell's:

"To understand what happened to Bell's, you have to understand what happened in the 1930s, after Prohibition, when modern alcohol law and the three-tier system were created. The system, which stipulates that all alcohol has to pass through a middleman, was established to ensure that producers couldn't run bars and limit consumer choice by exclusively serving their own drinks, a situation known as a 'tied house.' The repeal of Prohibition effectively gave states the right to regulate alcohol within their borders, and the resulting patchwork of laws has meant that distributors are usually in-state companies."

It's not just the tax money that should have legislators drooling. It's also what would surely be a tightly regulated distribution system, which would be a boon to power brokers and their elected friends.

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