Earlier this month, New Hampshire Governor John Sununu vetoed a bill that would have allowed qualified medical marijuana patients to grow up to six plants in their home for medicinal use.
“This bill would bypass those public health and safety guardrails and make the job of law enforcement significantly more difficult,” Sununu said in a statement. “Furthermore, it could serve to undermine the protections we have built within the Alternative Treatment Center system by making those facilities less sustainable.”
The Governor also mentioned the “need” to limit “diversion of marijuana to the black market”. This is an excuse often used by politicians to limit medical marijuana in some way – the dreaded “diversion”. As if some legal medical cannabis making its way to the black market is so egregious that it justifies limiting access to medical cannabis for sick people.
In a state with only 5 dispensaries, it’s not hard to imagine sick people who have difficulty travelling experiencing issues getting medical marijuana. If we’re talking about compassion, one would think that their ease of obtaining medical cannabis would be more important than some people who the state doesn’t think qualifies as sick getting ahold of some marijuana that was specifically designated for those that the state does think are sick.
Furthermore, those who grow marijuana in their home are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, no matter what they are growing it for. So those people shouldn’t be criminalized, especially by hypocrite politicians who claim to be doing what is in the little guy’s best interests.
And if the Governor is so worried about the sustainability of the state’s dispensary system, then he should be advocating for more qualifying conditions to be added so more patients qualify to purchase medical marijuana. It’s a win-win. It means more dispensaries, more jobs, more sustainability for the system and more sick people getting access to a medicine that can help them.
When politicians and lawmakers decide who can have what medicine, many are going to be left out. When strangers decide what is best for your life, your quality of life will suffer. When the government tries to help you, it will often hurt you instead.
No one is being helped by the prohibition of home growing, least of all patients themselves. Lawmakers should always be striving to allow more access for patients above all other considerations.
The reason why governors can prohibit citizens from having marijuana home grows is because the federal government has prohibited marijuana, which is misconstrued to be a plant. As defined at the federal level, marijuana has never been a plant, nor a drug, it is the adumbrated “other substance” of Schedule 1.
When the states ratified the Constitution in 1787, and then included the Bill of Rights in 1791, control of the versatile, valuable, renewable natural resource that is the plant Cannabis sativa L., was “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”. That control did not include cannabis prohibition, because cannabis was an important crop, as it should be today. When the states later ratified the 14th Amendment in 1868, the exclusive privileges and immunities of citizens to grow cannabis unabridged by the states, was established.
In the context of those amendments, corporations were neither people, nor citizens, so they had no rights to grow cannabis when cannabis was later prohibited, nor will they when cannabis is un-prohibited. That can be confirmed by carefully descheduling cannabis.
The malformed definition of marijuana was introduced in The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. It misspelled and prohibited marijuana, and it was misconstrued to enable cannabis prohibition. Cannabis can be un-prohibited while marijuana remains prohibited, simply by carefully reconstructing the malformed definition.
The definition was malformed because it adumbrated the actual meaning of marijuana. Each successive definition has retained the racist spelling “marihuana”, as well as the adumbrated description of marijuana. The adumbrated meaning can be recognized by solving this riddle that is embedded within each federal definition: What is “all parts of the plant”, and simultaneously “does not include the mature stalks”?
In 1988, the DEA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge succinctly stated the misconstruction in this trope: “Throughout this opinion the term ‘marijuana’ refers to ‘the marijuana plant, considered as a whole’.” His opinion to reschedule marijuana was overruled, but the misconstruction lives on.
Through the trope’s use of synecdoche and the DEA’s use of metonymy, the rhetorical triangulation works this way: Since “the term ‘marijuana’ refers to ‘the marijuana plant, considered as a whole'”, and since “the marijuana plant, considered as a whole” is inferred to mean “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.”, therefore “marijuana” is misconstrued to mean “the plant Cannabis sativa L.”. That is not what the entire definition means, but it does aggrandize the first clause of the malformed definition in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
It was wrong to misconstrue prohibited marijuana to mean cannabis, and it was wrong for the Farm Bill of 2018 to deschedule hemp based on THC, when hemp refers to the fibers. Two wrongs don’t make a right, it creates confusion. The 10th Amendment gave no power to the federal government to segment cannabis into prohibited-by-misconstruction marijuana and legal-by-exemption hemp.
The obvious way to make things right is to reconstruct the malformed federal definition of prohibited marijuana to make it uphold the Constitution. It only needs three changes:
1. Replace the racist term “marihuana” with its anglicized homonym “marijuana”.
2. Reveal the long adumbrated meaning of marijuana by clearly describing how marijuana is actually derived from cannabis.
3. Explicitly preserve the legitimate federal prohibitions that control the undesired proliferation of marijuana itself.
Altogether, these changes will establish a perimeter of limited federal prohibitions that surround a secure interior region of legal uses, by carefully descheduling cannabis to restore the rights of States and citizens to control cannabis in conformance with the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, regardless of the Scheduled status of marijuana itself.
Once the federal definition is reconstructed to uphold the Constitution, then the adulterated medical value that marijuana actually derives from cannabis can be separately evaluated to determine whether to also deschedule marijuana, or to merely reschedule that “other substance”.
In either case, the straightforward reconstruction of its definition will restore protections for local cannabis growers, establish sensible restrictions to protect children, and establish minimal rules for gun owners to be part of a Well Regulated Militia, with plenty of room for supplemental state level regulations. That is the value of putting it all there in the reconstructed definition where it should be, like this:
The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L., which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company, and such smoke is prohibited to be inhaled by any child or by any person bearing any firearm, as is the intake of any part or any product of such plant containing more than 0.3% THC by weight unless prescribed to such child by an authorized medical practitioner.
Some people may think the changes are controversial, but the controversy should actually be about the government’s resistance to literally reconstructing that malformed definition to make it uphold our U.S. Constitution.
Let’s contact our members of Congress about reconstructing the malformed federal definition of marijuana.