Rant & Rave: Mislabeled Seafood and Pot Tourism

February 2013

Rant: Mislabeled seafood underlines the need for better regulation.

If you can't see the ocean, don't order the fish. Thanks to modern technology, this old adage is no longer relevant. But this week, we landlocked Coloradans found out that some of the seafood we're getting may not be what it seems. Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization, released a study showing that as much as one-third of the seafood sold in the United States has allegedly been mislabeled by suppliers in a corrupt effort to wring more profits from sales. This not only hurts consumers' pocketbooks, it also abets and encourages illegal fishing operations.

It's hard not to conclude that this is a direct result of the obstructionist, anti-regulation political climate currently favored in Washington, D.C. Two bills from 2011 that would have helped prevent such nefarious business practices—the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act and the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act—quickly died in Congress. Given that the bills' sponsor, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), passed away last December, their fate is uncertain. What is certain is that if we keep chipping away at the measures that would keep our food supplies affordable—and more importantly, safe—we'll keep hearing about how everyday consumers have been getting screwed without even realizing it.

Rave: Pot tourism a welcome addition to the Colorado landscape.

On the other hand, if you can see the Rockies, get the weed. No greater an authority than Tupac Shakur once called California "the sunshine state where the bomb-ass hemp be," but today that designation resides firmly in Colorado. Also this week, the task force charged with implementing a post-Amendment 64 framework for retail marijuana operations decided that out-of-state visitors would be allowed to buy a limited amount of the product when they land here. By doing so, the task force hopes to discourage outsiders from buying up large amounts of marijuana in order to smuggle and sell it elsewhere. (Limiting these amounts, it's presumed, would make it more difficult and time-consuming to amass large quantities of the drug.) It's a baby step, but it's a sign that the task force is at least trying to fulfill its duty to move the law forward rather than undermine it. Amendment 64 opponents have understandably argued that they don't want to see Colorado's reputation suffer from being too closely associated with marijuana, but c'mon, let's be honest: The Centennial State's rep was already pretty tightly associated with pot. The passage of 64 merely cemented it. The task now is for us to become a legalization model instead of, like California has been, a cautionary tale.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.