Take it from me because I have been one: Potheads are blockheads. You can choose to be one if you wish, but you’re not doing you, or anybody close to you, any favors.What I find especially interesting is a very long comment by Art Chance (who is prone to long and thoughtful comments) on the article concerning the effects of widespread marijuana use in Alaska, which has effectively legalized marijuana except for very large quantities:
The ready availability of pot has created an underclass of low-wage, low-skill workers who can only work in places that don't drug test. Alaska, like most Left Coast states have very expensive workers' compensation insurance. In occupations were there is an significant danger of accidents and injuries, an employer simply MUST have pre-employment and safety incident drug-testing. More dangerous businesses also have random testing. Most truck driving and operation of other motorized equipment also entails pre-employment, incident, and random drug testing. Almost all the lucrative oil industry and mining jobs require a background check, pre-employment, safety incident, and random drug testing. Consequently, if you're going to have a good-paying private sector job, you can't smoke pot even if it is de facto legal. The drug of choice for those who have a job that drug tests and who simply must get high is here called "Spice" and since its ingredients are rather ad hoc, there isn't effective testing - yet.
Like most energy producing states, Alaska has very low unemploiyment and there should be strong upward pressure on entry/low-skill wages but there isn't except where drug testing is required. Drug testing keeps a large cluster of workers at or very near the minimum wage in food service, most retail, and other low-skill, low-danger jobs. Employers don't have to pay more because they could hire somebody at 8 AM, fire him at 10 AM and have his replacement on the job after lunch. You'll see the same thing happen in Colorado and Washington and in other states that actually or effectively legalize marijuana.Any comments from Alaska readers about Chance's remarks? My experience over the years is that while not everyone who smokes pot behaves like they are auditioning for one of Cheech & Chong's movies, there are enough in that category that those movies were funny. They were stereotypes, but stereotypes that many of us who grew up in California recognized. And yes, many of them ended up working at very, very low-end jobs -- often far below their potential.
I have one particularly strong memory of shortly after California decriminalized marijuana, perhaps 1979 or 1980, and I needed a tow. The tow truck driver that AAA sent out to retrieve my car was smoking a joint while hooking up my car. When we got into the car, I noticed that he had jury-rigged a car stereo into the electrical system of the tow truck so badly that an electrical fire started, with smoking rising from the wiring. At which point, he offered me a toke. "No thanks."