New York To Institute Marijuana Stores….. To Compensate Minorities Who Were Penalized By Anti-Marijuana Legislation
New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the creation of a $200 million fund dedicated to investing in New York’s cannabis industry to help black New Yorkers. That can only harm, not help people. Cannabis is an addictive drug.
Marijuana use can have negative and long-term effects:
Brain health: Marijuana causes permanent IQ loss of as much as 8 points when people start using it at a young age. These IQ points do not come back, even after quitting marijuana.
Mental health: Studies link marijuana use to depression, anxiety, suicide planning, and psychotic episodes. It is not known, however, if marijuana use is the cause of these conditions.
Athletic Performance: Research shows that marijuana affects timing, movement, and coordination, which can harm athletic performance.
Driving: People who drive under the influence of marijuana can experience dangerous effects: slower reactions, lane weaving, decreased coordination, and difficulty reacting to signals and sounds on the road.
Baby’s health and development: Marijuana use during pregnancy may cause fetal growth restriction, premature birth, stillbirth, and problems with brain development, resulting in hyperactivity and poor cognitive function. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals from marijuana can also be passed from a mother to her baby through breast milk, further impacting a child’s healthy development.
Daily life: Using marijuana can affect performance and how well people do in life. Research shows that people who use marijuana are more likely to have relationship problems, worse educational outcomes, lower career achievement, and reduced life satisfaction.
The generous interpretation of events is: Governor Hochul has a big heart, though her head is nowhere to be found. A cynical interpretation is that, after spending decades generating revenues and expanding the government’s power by waging war against marijuana users, politicians have now found a way to generate revenues and expand the government’s power by making amends to marijuana users.
Through the fund, New York intends to provide financing for 150 marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. Importantly, the fund will focus on dispensaries to be operated by minorities who suffered under New York’s penal system when marijuana was illegal. Says Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, “It is incumbent upon us to create a socially responsible cannabis industry…that ensures jobs and opportunity for minorities who have long been subject to unfair (cannabis) enforcement…”
The sentiment is laudable, but the effort is misguided. If the goal is to compensate people whose lives and families the state destroyed under the former marijuana laws, why provide money to run marijuana dispensaries? Only some of those marijuana law victims are able to run businesses, and only some of those are available to run these particular businesses. A far better solution would be to reimburse marijuana law victims for the time that New York kept them locked up, and let each decide for himself what to do with the money.
But this investment initiative is about “creating jobs,” the Governor says. Creating jobs is easy. Creating jobs that generate more value than they consume is hard. And the latter is not something at which government excels because government is designed to tell people what to do and to take what it wants. Creating jobs that generate more value than they consume requires convincing consumers to voluntarily hand over their money by offering them something in exchange that they like even better. Pulling that off almost always requires keeping government far away from decision makers, not entrenching it in a framework of licensing, oversight boards, and political appointments. President Trump proved how good the private market is at creating jobs. He created tens of thousands.