A few more items in the new world order:
1. Jonathan Martin writes about how the world of drug-testing job applicants remains largely unchanged by I-502. Marijuana may become legal on December 6, but a number of employers (especially ones who have no choice due to federal policy) will still be having potential employees pee in a cup before they can start. Thankfully, most of this area’s top companies are generally smart enough not to waste their money on this.
When I was hired by Boeing during my senior year in Ann Arbor, having to take a drug test caught me off-guard. At the time, head shops sold both pre-mixed drinks and un-mixed powders that you’d consume the morning of the test in order to pee clean. I’ve heard that drug testing firms have gotten better about detecting those, but at the time, it was rather simple to beat those tests. As the internet has grown, pre-employment drug screenings have often been referred to as “intelligence tests” since it only tests to make sure you’re smart enough to get on Google and find out how to beat them.
Being in the software/internet/IT world, I don’t have to worry about this any more. In fact, if I come across a company that actually wants me to take a drug test (and isn’t being forced by federal policy to do so), I’d take it as a sign there’s something wrong with the company. It’s like saying “we’re so dysfunctional, a person with a drug problem can pass the interview and work here unnoticed”. Almost no companies do it.
The state of Florida recently implemented a program to drug screen welfare recipients. Despite a lot of rhetoric about how this was a fiscally responsible decision, the program actually cost taxpayers more money. There’s little reason to believe that the dynamic is any different when it comes to pre-employment screening and is costing companies money that they could be spending elsewhere.
2. Joe Fryer from KING5 looks at Colorado’s strict regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. It’s an informative piece, although I take slight exception with this wording:
Washington has been hesitant to regulate businesses that grow and sell medical marijuana because the federal government still considers it a Schedule 1 drug with no medical benefits.
It wasn’t “Washington” that was hesitant to regulate them. The voters of this state have long supported it, and the legislature passed a bill to have it done very similarly to how Colorado does it. The only one who was hesitant was Governor Gregoire, who vetoed those regulations and left us miles behind Colorado. Because of that blunder, Colorado will have a much easier transition into regulated sales than we will, although I’m starting to become more confident that Governor-Elect Inslee will be a little smarter on this subject.
3. Why is so hard for the Tacoma News Tribune to find someone who isn’t a complete moron when talking about the drug war? I don’t have time to dissect the whole thing, so let me quickly summarize the things that Brian O’Neill gets wrong:
– The relationship between the Mexican government’s concern for drug trafficking and the level of the violence is the exact opposite of what O’Neill assumes. Over the years, as the Mexican government has intensified its fight against the traffickers, the amount of violence in the country has gone way up, not down. If the reverse happens, and Mexico stops worrying about them, the violence would start going back down again.
– Mexican drug trafficking organizations have shown that regardless of what the Mexican government does, they can still make billions of dollars from American drug consumption. The total amount of money spent by Americans isn’t the main variable here. In other words, if the Mexican government eased up on its enforcement, the main thing that would likely happen is that prices in the U.S. might go down a bit, not that drug trafficking organizations would make that much more in profits.
– Regardless of what happens with marijuana policy in Mexico City, neither the Mexican nor American government has ever been able to stop cocaine, meth, or other drugs from being smuggled into the United States. The idea that it will become harder if Mexico stops trying to interdict just marijuana is absurd. If anything, it would make it easier, since it can focus on a smaller percentage of the overall drug trade.
– There’s some disagreement about the extent that I-502 (and Colorado’s measure) will impact Mexico’s drug trafficking organizations, but believing that it will lead to a more porous border and higher profits for illegal gangs is pure lunacy. The amount of money they make is a function of how much Americans spend in the black market. If laws (like Washington’s and Colorado’s) re-direct that consumer spending away from the black market, the gangs make less. It’s not rocket science, and the News Tribune should really try harder to get someone on their staff who understands it.