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.