Imagine a perfectly square box. Now imagine that the box is filled with neatly stacked Lego blocks in such a manner that every centimeter of space within the box is filled with stacked Lego blocks. Do you have your filled Lego box in your mind? Good, now turn it over and shake it until all of the Legos have fallen out and crashed to the ground, stacks coming apart and flying in every direction.
What are you left with? An empty box and scattered, disconnected Lego blocks. Now let’s say you want to get the Legos back in the box, but instead of stacking them neatly, you just start tossing individual blocks in the box. What’s going to happen as you fill the box?
You will eventually run out of space and still have many blocks left over. This is a long metaphor, but one that I think is apt when it comes to the history of cannabis in the U.S. Before prohibition, cannabis was a box full of neatly stacked Legos. Prohibition was the shaking and dumping of the Legos out of the box. And now, with legalization, we are dumping Legos back in the box one or two at a time.
This is a topic I write and talk about a lot on our video news show, “Cannabis News”. To take the metaphor a step further, imagine having to get the opinions of all the people around the box as to what blocks will be thrown back in and at what intervals. And then in some cases, the people near the box elect representatives to decide on how the blocks go back into the box.
The problem, of course, is that the box should never been dumped in the first place. Now that it has, everyone around the box needs to add their two cents as to how the blocks go back in. The once neat stacks of blocks give way to randomly stacked blocks that won’t all fit in the box.
I know what you are saying: The people deciding on the blocks is democracy, the greatest system of government ever devised. Fair enough, but I submit that the problem isn’t so much the system as it is the amount of power those in the system have. Any system that has the power to allow strangers to make personal decisions about your life that are enforced at gunpoint is a system that has acquired too much power unto itself.
Why does your dumb neighbor who never returned your hedge clippers and gets the paper in the morning with his bath robe swinging open get a say in whether or not you are a criminal for using marijuana in your own home? Not only does he get a say, his say is equal to yours. You each get one vote. That seems like a fair way of doing things until everyone is voting on your personal business.
I was reading a story today about the demise of adult-use legalization this year in New Mexico. Near the end of the article, news station KOB 4 in Albuquerque showed some quotes from random people they talked to in town about legalization. One guy that was not named said, “”The state thinks they’ll get a bunch of money, but it costs a bunch of money to have marijuana legal.”
My apologies, but this is stupid. It’s a nonsensical statement with no basis in reality used to justify the continued imprisonment of innocent people. This man is as ignorant as possible about cannabis, which in and of itself is not a problem. The problem is he gets to vote on the criminality of cannabis in New Mexico, whether at the ballot box or through the moron he voted to represent him.
He gets a say on whether or not total strangers get to make a decision he will never face any consequences for, is not qualified to make and has no business making.
We have become fine with dummies throwing Legos randomly back in the box. Even worse, it’s our box of Legos. After strangers have filled it haphazardly, we’ll be left with the results as they move on to another box to post Tweets about.
The history of democracy and our Republic shows that – so far – the best way to decide things is to get everyone’s input, but when the things being decided are the personal business of individuals, democracy is just a bunch of stupid people running your life.
It is your box and they are your Legos, but you are no longer the sole decider of how your box is filled. As a result, your floor will forever be filled with stray Lego blocks you’ll be stepping on in the middle of the night.
To borrow your lego box metaphor and use it in an analogy, picture the square box full of legos, the box is open at the top, and each side of the box is labeled with an originally intended constitutional prohibition of cannabis use, as determined by the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments: No Corporations, No Subsidiaries, No Children, No Guns.
Cannabis prohibition is represented by emptying the lego box. Marijuana prohibition is represented by taping a cover onto the empty box with one strip of tape for each side of the box. The taped-on cover is labeled: No Marijuana.
The tape strips are used to secure the box cover ( i.e. marijuana prohibition) as well as the emptiness of the box (i.e. cannabis prohibition). The tape strips have their own labels: Disparaging Racism, Dismembered Riddle, Unjust Aggrandizement, and Redundant Exclusion. The labels on the tape strips hide the labels on the sides of the box.
To end cannabis prohibition, the labels on each side of the box must be revealed. To end marijuana prohibition, the cover of the lego box must be discarded. The key to both is removal of the tape.
Lego Box History:
The day before marijuana prohibition was established in 1937, the box was open at the top, and each side of the box had a label: No Corporations, No Subsidiaries, No Children, No Guns. It had been that way since 1868.
In 1937, when marijuana prohibition was originally established by the Marihuana Tax Act, there were only three strips of tape used to secure the cover. The day after marijuana prohibition was established, the box was covered, the cover was taped on, and the visible labels looked like this: No Marijuana, Disparaging Racism, Dismembered Riddle, Unjust Aggrandizement, and No Guns.
In 1970, when marijuana prohibition was re-established by the Controlled Substances Act, there were still only three strips of tape used to secure the cover, but a sticker with fine print was added that said: No THC. The day after marijuana prohibition was re-established, the box was again covered, the cover was taped on, and the visible labels still looked like this: No Marijuana, Disparaging Racism, Dismembered Riddle, Unjust Aggrandizement, and No Guns.
In 2018, when marijuana prohibition was updated for hemp, the fourth strip of tape was added with the label: Redundant Exclusion. The sticker with fine print was updated to say: No THC, except from hemp. The day after that definition was established, the box remained covered, the cover was taped on, but the visible labels looked like this: No Marijuana, Disparaging Racism, Dismembered Riddle, Unjust Aggrandizement, and Redundant Exclusion.
We simply want to return the box to its original configuration. The key to ending both cannabis prohibition and marijuana prohibition is the removal of the tape. The tape must be removed before the labels on the sides of the box can be revealed, and before the cover can be removed. The capricious sticker must also be removed.
Step 1: Remove the Tape.
The current definition of marijuana is malformed because it contains deceptions. Eliminating the deceptions from the definition represents removing the tape from the lego box. Removing the tape will reveal the original prohibition labels and loosen the cover on the box. The current malformed definition of marijuana looks like this:
(16)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.
(B) The term “marihuana” does not include (i) hemp, as defined in section 1639o of title 7; or (ii) the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.
This definition is malformed because it has four deceptions. The first three debuted in 1937, the fourth debuted in 2018. The way to create the reconstructed definition is to eliminate these deceptions from the malformed definition. They can be removed like this:
1. Remove the Disparaging Racism by simply replacing the Mexican term “marihuana” with its English equivalent term “marijuana”.
2. Remove the Dismembered Riddle that cleverly adumbrates the meaning of marijuana by simply replacing it with a clear description of how marijuana is actually derived from cannabis. The riddle is dismembered because its parts are separated. It currently appears this way: What “…other substance…” is “…all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L….” and simultaneously “…does not include the mature stalks…”? This will end the defining of cannabis plants as marijuana “plants”.
3. Remove the Unjust Aggrandizement of marijuana prohibition by simply specifying the legitimate federal prohibitions of cannabis use that are implied by the original intent of the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments. This will better control the undesired proliferation of marijuana itself because the reconstructed definition will inform states and local communities how to augment those federal prohibitions with their own regulations.
4. Remove the Redundant Exclusion for hemp in part (B)(i) of the malformed definition by simply removing the previous three deceptions from the definition. It is redundant because part (B)(ii) was originally claimed to exclude hemp, although the federal drug-law enforcement agency never honored that claim. This will allow the onerous and arbitrary THC limit, which is used to define cannabis plants as hemp “plants”, to then be repurposed as a public-safety oriented THC limit for specified categories of cannabis users. When the Redundant Exclusion is removed, then the definition of hemp “plants” will be rendered superfluous, so it can also be eliminated.
Eliminating each of the deceptions represents removing each of the strips of tape from the cover of the empty lego box, so that the labels on the sides of the box can be revealed, and so that the cover can be loosened to be refill the box with legos.
The tape is the why the lego box has remained empty and covered for so long. The labels on the tape strips were misunderstood to be the labels on the sides of the box. In real ways, the deceptions in the malformed definition secured the enduring prohibition of cannabis under the guise of marijuana prohibition.
When the deceptions are eliminated from the definition, then it will be reconstructed to uphold the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, and it will look like this:
(16) 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 their 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.
Step 2: Discard the Cover.
At this point, the tape has been removed, the original labels on the box have been revealed, and the box cover has been loosened. The box can be refilled with legos by lifting one side of the cover, but the cover remains on the box because marijuana is still in Schedule 1. In real ways, cannabis has been carefully descheduled, and marijuana can be tested for medical value.
Now that marijuana is clearly identified as cannabis smoke and the federal prohibitions of cannabis use are specified, the separate removal of marijuana from Schedule 1 can be considered, by either descheduling it or rescheduling it based on its adulterated medical value. Removing marijuana from Schedule 1 represents discarding the cover from the lego box.
Step 3: Remove the Sticker.
As well, the sticker with the fine print needs to be removed. Congress only needs to deschedule THC from cannabis (not synthetic THC), by amending subsection (c)(17) of Schedule 1 in the Controlled Substances Act, similar to the technique used in the Farm Bill of 2018 for descheduling THC from hemp, like this:
“Tetrahydrocannabinols except for tetrahydrocannabinols occurring naturally on or in, or extracted from the plant Cannabis sativa L.”
Now that the tape has been removed, the labels on the side of the box have been revealed, the cover has been discarded, and the sticker has been removed, some guidelines can be established to assure safe use of the legos.
Step 4: Safely Using Legos.
Congress can tell the FDA to establish an entirely separate classification scheme for cannabis based on its THC content, to be used as a national reference tool for the descheduled cannabis plant and its extracts. A federal Table of Cannabis Categories will be a useful reference for each state’s regulatory purposes, and for people’s information purposes so they can avoid undesired effects from THC intake. The reference table will help people to use cannabis knowledgeably.
Since marijuana actually means cannabis smoke (which is all parts of the plant, and simultaneously does not include the stalks), and hemp actually means cannabis fibers (which always do contain less than 0.3% THC because they’re made of cellulose), the reference table will also help to dispel the federal misinformation that the terms “marijuana” and “hemp” refer to varieties of cannabis plants. The reference table could look like this:
TABLE OF CANNABIS CATEGORIES
THC% FORMAT CATEGORY SUBGRADE
99.0 – 100.0 Extract Isolate Pure
40.0 – 99.0 Extract Concentrate Specified THC%
0.0 – 40.0 Extract Refined Specified THC%
40.0 – 99.0 Plant Rarefied Specified THC%
39.0 – 40.0 Plant Paramount Top
38.0 – 39.0 Plant Paramount Fine
37.0 – 38.0 Plant Paramount Standard
36.0 – 37.0 Plant Paramount Simple
35.0 – 36.0 Plant Paramount Low
34.0 – 35.0 Plant Prime Top
33.0 – 34.0 Plant Prime Fine
32.0 – 33.0 Plant Prime Standard
31.0 – 32.0 Plant Prime Simple
30.0 – 31.0 Plant Prime Low
29.0 – 30.0 Plant Premium Top
28.0 – 29.0 Plant Premium Fine
27.0 – 28.0 Plant Premium Standard
26.0 – 27.0 Plant Premium Simple
25.0 – 26.0 Plant Premium Low
24.0 – 25.0 Plant Select Top
23.0 – 24.0 Plant Select Fine
22.0 – 23.0 Plant Select Standard
21.0 – 22.0 Plant Select Simple
20.0 – 21.0 Plant Select Low
19.0 – 20.0 Plant Choice Top
18.0 – 19.0 Plant Choice Fine
17.0 – 18.0 Plant Choice Standard
16.0 – 17.0 Plant Choice Simple
15.0 – 16.0 Plant Choice Low
14.0 – 15.0 Plant Good Top
13.0 – 14.0 Plant Good Fine
12.0 – 13.0 Plant Good Standard
11.0 – 12.0 Plant Good Simple
10.0 – 11.0 Plant Good Low
9.0 – 10.0 Plant Decent Top
8.0 – 9.0 Plant Decent Fine
7.0 – 8.0 Plant Decent Standard
6.0 – 7.0 Plant Decent Simple
5.0 – 6.0 Plant Decent Low
4.0 – 5.0 Plant Basic Top
3.0 – 4.0 Plant Basic Fine
2.0 – 3.0 Plant Basic Standard
1.0 – 2.0 Plant Basic Simple
0.0 – 1.0 Plant Basic Low
All of these steps can be put into one single marijuana reform bill. Let’s contact our members of Congress about making these reasonable changes to federal marijuana law.