| David Gerard |
As I pack my bags for the American Economic Association meetings this weekend in San Francisco, I am reminded of a recent New Yorker article on the impacts of medical marijuana legalization. This is probably a rather mundane topic for you left-coasters, but here in Pennsylvania where we can’t even buy beer in grocery stores, it is a pretty exotic concept.
The article highlights a number of ways in which legalization foments organizational change, and also gives some anecdotal evidence on sharecropping terms, suggesting different terms for indoor and outdoor operations.
The easiest way to make this kind of small indoor scene work is to live in someone else’s house and nurture the plants in exchange for a third or half the profits, and that is how the Kid would be spending her time for the next two months.
On the outdoor side, however, this description of the “Humboldt Slide” suggests that landlords appear more willing to change the contracting terms:
“You start at this really great percentage, and you’re buddy-buddy and everything’s great,” Emily said. As the harvest approaches, growers inevitably begin to run out of money and get greedy, and the sharecroppers lose whatever leverage they had earlier in the growing cycle, when their daily attention was necessary for the young plants to survive. Emily’s wage the previous year was initially set at a third of the value of the plants that she harvested. Later, her boss “slid” her percentage to a sixth, meaning that she owned only a dozen of the eighty plants that she grew that season.
The explanation is that the laborers have no legal recourse, so the landlord is free to rewrite contracts as he pleases, but then wouldn’t we expect a slide in the case of the indoor operations as well?
I welcome suggestions for more systematic treatments for effects of the California legalization. One effect that I don’t expect is for it to have much of an impact on the average sobriety level at this weekend’s conference.