New Albany Fall Fest

A taste of the Ohio State Fair Midway in New Albany

Tonight was the first night of New Albany’s Fall Fest 2010.  The Fall Fest — as is seemingly true with any New Albany event — means that traffic patterns to and from the Webner household will again be disrupted.  In this instance, the Market Street area closed down to through traffic sometime before this morning’s rush hour and will stay closed until sometime on Sunday.  In the meantime, Market Street and the area around the library and the local shops are filled with booths for local businesses, boy scout troops, and churches, as well as a little taste of Ohio State Fair midway rides and food.

The NAHS band marches on

Tonight’s event started off with a New Albany High School homecoming parade and pep rally.  I got there in time to see the NAHS band march by on their way to the football game.  There were lots of parents and kids milling around, and it looked like the kids were having fun. Later there will be other events, like a battle of the bands and a New Albany talent show.

The New Albany Fall Fest is one of those classic, simple, somewhat cheesy events that help to make random neighborhoods into real communities.  In exchange, I’m willing to bear the resulting commuting inconvenience for a weekend.

First Decriminalization, Then Legalization, Then Taxation?

Yesterday California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in California.  The new law takes effect in January.  Thereafter, possession of an ounce or less will be a simple infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine.

Interestingly, Schwarzenegger justified his signing of the bill solely on cost grounds.  He says California will save money on prosecutors, court personnel, police officers, and publicly provided defense attorneys who otherwise would be paid to prosecute marijuana possession misdemeanor offenses.  In 2008, for example, California had 61,000 arrests on misdemeanor possession charges.

California’s decision to decriminalize small quantities of marijuana is an interim step in the process that I think is probably inevitable.  Eventually cash-strapped states will find the lure of legalizing marijuana, and then taxing its sale, to be irresistible.  California faces a massive budget deficit.  By decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, California eliminates an expense item.  By legalizing marijuana and taxing its sale, California adds money to its revenue side.  With states having justified the legalization of casino gambling on job creation and revenue grounds, can legalized marijuana be far behind?