Richard Carnes: Tax for a toke is no joke |

Richard Carnes: Tax for a toke is no joke

“Psssst, wanna get high?”

No, wait, I mean, “Hello there, nice people. Would any of you be interested in legally dealing with your chronic pain by getting together for a joint medicinal vapor-inhaling session?”


Get it? Man, I kill myself sometimes.

To be blunt (I can’t stop), medicinal marijuana dispensaries are popping up quicker than Mountaineer-free Starbucks in Happy Valley, and before we know it at least half of the population will be coming down with chronic hypochondriacism.

Local towns are scurrying to regulate the potential upside of medicinal marijuana sales and scared to death of the superficial downside (oh, the horrors of national popularity). If anything, the local raging conspiracy types will gain yet another reason to hate Obama.

But that’s another issue.

So what’s really going on here?

Put simply, I know two individuals, not yet 20-years-old, who recently went to a doctor in Denver on the advice of a “friend.” After waiting a full 15 minutes they were invited into his office, where they each handed him $200 cash in return for a 100 percent legal registration card enabling them to purchase medicinal marijuana.

That’s all it took.

Although nervous and possessing well-rehearsed chronic pain issues to justify their needs, there was no explanation needed, no examination, no confirmed health issues, nothing except for the simple exchange of American currency.

And it was all legal.

Now they can each cheerfully grow up to six pot plants or be in possession of up to two ounces without breaking state laws (federal laws are a different animal, however).

Once you’re done feigning shock and dismay over a medical industry professional with ethical issues, let’s get back to reality and discuss the real subject, which is the extremely slow, yet methodical and eventual legalization of marijuana.

As I have said many times, illegal drugs and I were never partners. It was not a moral issue, but one of legality. The calculated risks involved were never worth it to me, so I simply chose to stay away as opposed to gambling against my future just to get high.

Besides, beer’s legal.

Anyway, many have spent decades extolling the virtues of cannabis, including the potential sales tax windfalls. But guess what? It is currently being sold as a medicine, thus meaning weed is not a taxable product.

That certainly screws up the whole save-the-economy-by-taxing-weed campaign.

I am all for eliminating the criminal act of smoking a joint, and agree wholeheartedly with study after study confirming the medicinal benefits for those truly in pain, but reality reveals the other 99.99999 percent toke for recreational use, and thus, like tobacco and booze, the tokin’ should be taxed.

Who knows, at this rate I just might feel a seriously chronic ingrown toenail on the horizon.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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