I heard that Las Vegas is going to be changing their longtime slogan: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” And that’s good, because that was never true.
I’m sure that there a lot of clinics that could switch to that. Also a lot of bankruptcy lawyers. With the idea of Vegas becoming a center for recreational cannabis, things come into mind. Number one is my wonderful city of Amsterdam, which I love. I live there. I view the coffee shops, everything there, as a wonderful experience. Nobody needs to go to Amsterdam anymore though.
The fact is that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas because they missed it, by being as aggressive as they were with legalization and much more. Of course, being Vegas in everybody’s face, some Miami people were going to Colorado to get cannabis because it was the first place where they could go. But now it’s Vegas. And because it’s Vegas, they’ve got whatever else you like there. Incredible restaurants, great shows, really cheap little hotels by comparison. If you don’t gamble, it’s still a really great thing. And now, some of the dispensaries there are absolutely amazing.
Vegas, of course, has a history of the mafia gambling there. Then it became totally corporate after Howard Hughes. Now, Vegas is really big business and the gambling business is very tightly regulated. Good for them. It also really restricts public opportunities for you. Don’t you just go out there and open a casino? Well, again, you’re getting into a world where it’s much more complicated and much more expensive to open up a marijuana dispensary.
Welcome to America. But the fact is that, again, Vegas is anything but a typical American city. That’s the whole point. If it were a typical American city, nobody would go to Vegas. You know, you really do have things that we can learn from Las Vegas, but it isn’t a thing that will necessarily be applicable to the rest of the country. If I look back and then think about the decade since the first time I went to Amsterdam, I think about the idea of freedom and letting people evolve a system there. And again, in Vegas, all of this was done very professionally and it ended up with a very professional system.
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This is not going to apply to every place in the United States or in the world. But the one thing that you feel, again, is that if you try to over-regulated and overtaxed it, you are going to end up subsidizing the black market. Ending prohibition is having the adverse consequences of keeping it in the black market. Moving marijuana out of the black market should be the number one measure of the success of legalization, not how much taxes you raise, or regulation, reparations and so on. Get it out of the black market. If that is your measure of success and all the rest will follow.