How Legalized Drug Use is Harming Legitimate Tobacco Businesses
With Washington and Colorado now legalizing recreation use of marijuana, all sorts of issues are cropping up. As with any other law that is passed based on emotion, before the legal, social and very practical implications of such laws are extrapolated to their ends, bad things are now happening.
In Washington State as an example, traffic accidents are up as are drivers arrested with marijuana in their system. Yet the State refuses to see a correlation between the nearly 25% rise of automobile accidents, and the increase of the presence of marijuana in tested drivers being up almost 40% – as reported by the Seattle Times. But the affect of legalized recreational marijuana is more than just impaired driving, and the ever present disagreements of the social effects, good or bad. While the States are so happy for this new tax revenue in marijuana sales, it is harming legitimate tobacco shops and legal commerce.
Quality tobacco shops like the Tinder Box nearby in Tacoma, WA, are coming under increased scrutiny by law makers. Not only does ever increasing new legislation make it ever more difficult to sell tobacco products in the first place, but the growing presence of so-called “head shops” is also causing problems. Store front businesses all over Washington and Colorado are complaining loudly at the clientele being brought onto their streets and into their neighborhoods by the locations of pot distribution centers and head-shops.
Responding to similar requests in Illinois, city of Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney is introducing legislation to keep head-shops out of major shopping districts. This seems logical if it is affecting businesses and therefore tax revenue for the municipalities and States involved. So that leads me to think – What about WA and CO? Has anyone thought of this in those States?
Already reeling from increased crime, traffic incidents, impaired driving etc, the law enforcement agencies of Washington and Colorado, are now facing further financial crisis. Increases traffic accidents, increased thefts and crimes, and budgets already in the red, decreased tax revenues should be of major concern. which begs the question – why continue on the loath of treating tobacco use and pipe smoking as a social ‘sin’, doing all you can to legislate it out of business, while social progressives, which seem to be the current political majority, are working to make illegal drugs, legal?
While I applaud Alderman Tunney for his efforts to protect legitimate businesses from the ‘guilt by association’ decreases retail traffic in areas now adorned with head-shops and marijuana retailers, the problem is bigger, and systemic. If government is going to protect legitimate businesses from the issues associated with marijuana dispensaries, why not trying to protect legitimate smoke shops, and artisan tobacco and cigar stores in a like manner? The answer is as simple as it is damning. it’s just not politically correct to support tobacco use in cigars and pipes, but it is to support the civil liberties of those who wish to indulge in a federally illegal drug. Until this social issue is resolved by the turning of the attitude of the people from the liberties of a social agenda, to just plain civil liberties, all might be lost.
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