Cold snap explained; next up – pigs to fly 51

Last week, Texas was slammed with seriously cold (for us, anyway) weather. Some people chalk this up to changes in the jet stream; others say it’s due to a disruption of El Niño or La Niña or perhaps Columbus’s other ship. I’ve even seen it attributed to a polar vortex (whatever that is – sounds like a Mannheim Steamroller album to me).

I’m here to tell you it’s none of these things. It’s cold here because hell has frozen over.

perrytoke3And how do I know that hell has frozen over? Because our governor, Rick Perry, has come out for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Perry dropped this bombshell at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And while he didn’t go full Peter Tosh and recommend straight-up legalization, a la Colorado, he did suggest that lawmakers have better things to worry about.

You can’t argue with the numbers. In 2011, Texas made more than 70,000 weed-related arrests; 98 percent of these were for simple possession. During the same year, 90 percent of all reported burglaries and 88 percent of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. So, yeah, maybe our cops do have better things to do than arresting people for smoking flowers.

Theoretically, Perry’s stance should not be a surprise. He’s a conservative (seriously – he makes Mussolini look like Wavy Gravy) and conservatives claim to be all about states’ rights, personal responsibility and less government intrusion. In practice, of course, conservatives can’t get enough government intrusion – especially when it comes to things that scare them, such as women and their lady bits, or weed.

Still, his pronouncement was a shocker. Cynics might dismiss his move as mere expediency. But at Davos he said, “We certainly would never jump out in front of a parade because that’s where the public seems to be going.”

Numbers suggest a different reality. In an October poll taken by the Marijuana Policy Project, 58 percent of Texas voters support making ganja legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol. By comparison, a mere 38 percent oppose it. So Perry’s new and unexpected chilled-out vibe could be a simple matter of knowing which way the wind is blowing (and perhaps opening a window and lighting some incense).

Also, the U.S. Justice Department announced in August that the Obama administration would give new latitude to states experimenting with taxation and regulation of marijuana. When the Feds actually start listening to the people – such as the people in 20 states who have said they want some degree of legalization, and those in the eight that are considering it – you know the times they are a-changin’. Perry’s nothing if not politically astute, and getting in front of this parade is a no-brainer for a politician who’d like to freshen his image and ride the inevitable.

Additionally, given the state’s money woes, it would be hard to argue with the economic benefits of legalization. In the first five days of legalization, Colorado raked in an estimated $5 million in taxes. That figure includes only the tax on weed sales and doesn’t take into account taxes on Dr Pepper, Visine and blacklight posters.

At any rate, Perry’s move has put a lot of people – myself included – in a very weird spot. I could never bring myself to vote for him – on my personal bucket list, that falls right between giving Ron Jeremy a full Brazilian and coming down with a candiru infestation. But decriminalization – if not full-on legalization – is long overdue and he’s the highest-profile and most powerful Texas pol to speak honestly (publicly, anyway) about it.

It will be interesting to see what stand gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis takes on this hot-button issue. If she decides to appeal to the 58 percent, she could start by tweaking her slogan from “Stand With Wendy,” to “Get Up, Stand Up With Wendy.”

This one’s free, Wendy, and good luck. And if you win, and you need an agriculture commissioner, I hope you’ll keep me in mind.

 

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51 comments

    • I, too, had to look it up. Geez mon those things are scary! I knew what they were just not what they were called. This summer I nearly made the kids wear face masks in the water in fear of them.

  1. It seems odd the ultra conservative save us from ourselves politicians can smell money over the strong stench of the devil skunk weed.

  2. So funny, and so true! I think I’m going to have “conservatives claim to be all about states’ rights, personal responsibility and less government intrusion. In practice, of course, conservatives can’t get enough government intrusion – especially when it comes to things that scare them, such as women and their lady bits, or weed.” tattooed on my rear end!

  3. It’s a tribute to how criminal and tyrannical our world is today that this issue is even a “controversy.” Not just marijuana, but HEROIN should be legalized. And super-mega-ultra heroin. It’s called FREEDOM, folks! And anyone who opposes it is a criminal and tyrannical MONSTER.

  4. I’m not a proponent of chemical self-medication…hold on, I almost spilled my wine…but there seem to be a few states that could use a good, long toke. Texas would be number one, followed by pretty much the entire east coast from Pennsylvania on northwards. Whatever’s leftover in the baggie should be donated to Utah and mandatorily incorporated into certain religious ceremonies.

  5. You can bet it is the money. Here in North Nevada the county commission is looking for ways to charge extra fees to medical cannibus facilities far and above what they charge any other businesses. We are due to open our first in April.

  6. This country was founded on smoking flowers — oh, wait, that was killing Native Americans. Anyway, my father told me that pot used to grow wild all over the place in Texas. Kudos to the politicians for finding a way to make money on it.
    You are funny; anybody ever tell you that?
    Congrats on the FP!

    • Don’t be shy, this country WAS founded on smoking flowers AND Injuns. Old Adam Weishaupt – oops, sorry – George Washington separated his female plants from the males for a reason: Alamout Black.

  7. That is the first thing Perry has said a VERY long time that I have agreed with. I just figured it was some more Faux News reporting when I first heard it but that would be leaning in the wrong direction…. Just goes to prove he isn’t running for re-election. Politics in Texas just might be starting to get interesting again. (Anybody heard from Kinky Friedman lately?)

  8. My question is, if they plan on regulating this like alcohol, how are they going to test for it? I mean I’ve had friends who had smoked and we wouldn’t allow them to drive because they seemed really impaired. Please keep in mind I’m not a pot head so my question may seem nieve.

  9. *ROTFLMAO* Ohhhh that’s sooo funny! I would not have believed it myself either. I don’t believe in drugs, never tried drugs (except for medical drugs from a doctor). On the other hand you have people in prison serving 25 to life for drugs, and have killers serving 5 to 15 years depending how they kill someone and their plea bargain deals, then you have the sick in the head child molesters that have been to prison numerous times over and over with multiple kids being hurt or almost killed …so yeah, maybe legalizing weed would be good. Switch the child molesters to life in prison (I perfer the death penalty) and lets get the real monsters off the streets.
    Legalized weed might help the sick people eat more chips and gain some weight.

  10. *ROTFLMAO* Ohhhh that’s sooo funny! I would not have believed it myself either. I don’t believe in drugs, never tried drugs (except for medical drugs from a doctor). On the other hand you have people in prison serving 25 to life for drugs, and have killers serving 5 to 15 years depending how they kill someone and their plea bargain deals, then you have the sick in the head child molesters that have been to prison numerous times over and over with multiple kids being hurt or almost killed …so yeah, maybe legalizing weed would be good. Switch the child molesters to life in prison (I perfer the death penalty) and lets get the real monsters off the streets.
    Legalized weed might help the sick people eat more chips and gain some weight.

  11. In Texas, decriminalization or legalization would probably empty at least 1/3 of the prisons and jails, clear half the dockets of the courts in the state and generally cause a lay-off in the state govt of all the people making a living prosecuting, arresting and imprisoning pot smokers. When these govt workers figure out what’s going to happen, forget it, decriminalization will never happen. It’s easier and safer to fill the jails with pot smokers than dangerous criminals.Don’t forget all the lawmen who will have their protection money from the weed dealers and smugglers erased. Wow, and we thought the oil bust of the 80’s was bad in Texas! This would be a major redneck disaster!

    • Ignim: Clearly, a lot of people have a vested interest in keeping it illegal since that’s where their money and power come from. But, as Victor Hugo said, “Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.”

    • Whoa, now… hold your horses. When we pass new laws and make new outlaws we don’t go roundin’ up all the would’a been convicts from before the law. So why would we go and retroactively release a bunch of tried and true convicts once their past crimes wouldn’t’a been crimes no more? We ain’t anti-business ’round here. We’ll have plenty of time to re-focus our priorities and keep the prisons full, even build new ones.

  12. Perry’s comment shook my little world down here in Port Neches, TX as it did yours, Jeff. Makes me sorta sad to see the good old boy vacate his post. You are right, the legalization of weed is LONG overdue. Who knows, maybe Texas will become the standard bearer for the other 49 states bound by pot laws that will soon go the way of prohibition. (Did I actually write that?)

  13. Reblogged this on Ranka Media and commented:
    I found this post rummaging through some WordPress blogs. I think my readers will enjoy Jeff Carmack’s take on Texas Governor, Rick Perry’s latest stance on the seeming, never-ending debate on pot legalization.

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