Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who's Going to Close the Clubs?

I'm not much of an activist, and there are certain things on which I failed to have strong opinions. The other day I was walking along downtown San Jose stopped in the local Safeway The Market grocery store downtown. Outside of Safeway, just as are outside about every supermarket in town, was a man promoting some type of special interest, with a portable stand up table a clipboard, and a sign.

His sign said," keep the clubs open." Outside my disinterest -in recreational drugs, loud music, or free-spirited interaction with large groups of strangers-I love the party just as much as the next guy. So, when this man shows me a sign that says" keep the clubs open", I am inclined to access that libertarian part of my soul, and and ask myself, why would anyone want to close the clubs. Of course I had no idea what clubs this man was talking about. I certainly didn't know why they were danger. I had to ask this man what the heck he was trying to defend.

Apparently, he was getting people to sign a petition, a San Jose-only petition, that was aimed at making sure the medicinal marijuana clubs -clubs aimed at providing medicinal marijuana to those that need it-would not be closed by the political establishment that runs San Jose. Newspaper reports in recent months have talked about how San Jose city Council, and its mayor Chuck Reed, are trying to pass regulations that could close down 90% of the medicinal marijuana clubs in this city.

I don't smoke marijuana. I have no medical need for marijuana. I don't particularly like my experiences shared with people who enjoy smoking marijuana. But, looking at the whole libertarian spirited idea, one of few libertarian ideas that I would entertain, I have asked myself what does it hurt. the city of San Jose seems to be strangely schizophrenic for issuing business licenses to the people who opened up 110 marijuana clubs in San Jose, and then just a few years later decided that they could shut 90% of these businesses down just to entertain their constituencies.

Ironically, the groups most likely to want to shut down these marijuana clubs are the very people who are in favor of free markets. I'm sure the vast majority of them join in hand-in-hand singing the praises of 18th-century philosopher Adam Smith, and their belief that unfettered markets alone can sculpt a healthy society.

I am no more opposed to the smoking of marijuana than I am to the drinking of alcohol. If you want to live in a capitalistic, free-market society, why would you not want to encourage these legally formed businesses to thrive in our society?

So, I've met a new friend, Dana, who came down to San Jose just to get my signature and the signature of others onto this petition, in the hopes that we could keep our local pot clubs open. I believe that as a capitalist, I would hate for my local government to be so capricious as to close down a business to which they gave a green light to open.

Thank you for reading.


Bonnie said...

Good piece of writing, Keith. As you might have guessed I am with you on the issue. And I'm not a pot user either. I have long lamented San Jose's "talent" at making the downtown as unappealing as possible by restricting most everything. It seems our city "fathers" are incapable of being city "friends".

Keith said...

Bonnie, I get sad pondering the decisions our reps. make on our behalf. I always thought we had good liberal-minded folk running our city... I used to know a few of them. I still cast my votes

Santa Cruz Nick said...

Medical cannabis establishments should be no more restricted than pharmacies or liquor stores. The only regulation the city government should consider is a heavy fine for selling schwag or fake pot.

iamglyph said...

hey Keith its Adam. Its nice to see you still write on your blog, and are getting out some.
Its nice to see you are being open minded about something. Even if it is in relation to the darn pot smokers.
Supposedly Shasta County has 300 pot collectives now, and %50 of the population has scripts. So i think something has to be done to make things more manageable, but i am not sure if closing the collectives is the way to go tough.
I also often wonder why the pot people care so much about the issue. When they have the ability to grow it on their own for much cheaper and easier.