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The Problem with Marijuana Legalization

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Those who support marijuana prohibition like to talk about all of the problems they feel are inherent to and result from legalization. As someone who wholeheartedly supports an end to prohibition, I can admit there are some major problems with legalization, especially in the U.S.

A glaring problem is that government lawmakers and bureaucrats are in charge of implementing it. This leads to a myriad of delays and compromises that we chronicle regularly here at The Marijuana Times. But some would say that an even bigger problem is the incremental, piecemeal way legalization is being enacted. 

Of course, political realities have dictated the course of cannabis law reform. With the federal government refusing to budge when it comes to marijuana, a state-by-state strategy was the most likely option for success. Since voters and lawmakers and government officials decide in each state what the law will be, not only are there variations from state to state, but also from jurisdiction to jurisdiction within a state.

This has created a situation where someone driving from New York to California could be subject to scores of different laws regarding cannabis along the way. The inefficiency of this is obvious and the confusion it causes is immeasurable. It is such a clear problem that the mainstream press can even see it, as evidenced by this recent piece in Politico that focuses mainly on the friction between the federal government and the states over cannabis.

Prohibition itself was a pretty cut-and-dried process, especially with the passage of The Controlled Substances Act of 1970. That legislation made everything pertaining to cannabis illegal and subject to federal law enforcement, allowing for the creation of the DEA. State legislatures had to follow suit or face all the consequences that come from defying the federal government.

But to reverse that process is a much longer and more arduous journey. Fighting state by state, sometimes even town by town, takes much more time than debating and passing a comprehensive bill in the federal Congress. More time allows for more setbacks, which adds more time, and so on.

If the federal government has passed and enacted marijuana legalization in, say, 2012, how many states would be left today still fighting to keep prohibition? Outside a handful of more conservative states, I can’t imagine too many lawmakers would want to put up that fight.

Now consider the path we are currently on. Without federal legalization, how long do you think it will take until 40 states have adult-use legalization? Does “decades” seem like an unreasonable answer? I would submit that it does not.

The bottom line is that the way we have to go about legalization sucks. It’s slow and takes a tremendous amount of effort for relatively little progress. It creates many problems that would be avoided if things were different on the federal level.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Klare’s article prompts for a solution for the legalization problem.

    The solution is to convince political candidates and members of Congress to carefully deschedule cannabis by comprehensively reconstructing the current malformed federal definition of marijuana to make it literally uphold the Constitution. It is in our advantage that there is an election coming soon.

    The argument is not about cannabis utility, or cannabis medicine. The persuasive argument is about upholding the Constitution. What patriots favoring cannabis need to know, is how rectify the current definition to make it uphold the Constitution, in order to set about making things right. Some U.S. history is useful.

    The plant Cannabis sativa L. was widely grown and used when the states ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1787. The Commerce Clause anticipated cannabis commerce between states, with foreign nations and Indian tribes. The Necessary and Proper Clause intended for laws to be correctly constructed.

    Cannabis was such a versatile, valuable, renewable natural resource that the Bill of Rights was ratified by the states in 1791, with the intent to keep its legal use locally controlled.

    The 9th Amendment intended for people’s rights to use cannabis to not be federally denied or disparaged, even though the right to bear arms was established by the 2nd Amendment. Although the prohibition of gun ownership by cannabis users violates the 2nd Amendment, there is a way to uphold both Amendments by reinforcing the Well Regulated Militia Clause at the federal level.

    The 10th Amendment removed the power to control cannabis from the federal government, and reserved it to the states and the people. The 20th century’s federal misconstruction that marijuana prohibition also means cannabis prohibition, and the 21st century’s misleading federal definition of hemp as a variety of cannabis for the purpose of excluding it from marijuana prohibition, both violate the 10th Amendment.

    It does show that if “hemp” can be so easily descheduled, then cannabis itself can be carefully descheduled. Hemp actually refers to cannabis fibers, but it is misleadingly defined at the federal level as cannabis containing less than than 0.3% THC. That is backwards, like defining “darkness” as electromagnetism with less than 0.3% light.

    No one should have to forfeit their crop because it has 0.4%, 0.5%, 1%, or whatever amount of THC, because the meaning of marijuana is independent of THC content, although knowing the THC content of cannabis products is important to consumers.

    After the Civil War, the states ratified the 14th Amendment in 1868, to establish privileges and immunities for both freeborn and newly emancipated citizens to continue to grow and use cannabis, which the states could not abridge. Allocation of “marijuana businesses licenses” to oligopolistic corporations, violates Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.

    In the context of each of those Amendments, there were no powers, rights, privileges, or immunities established for corporations to control cannabis. The reconstructed definition of marijuana must respect that contextual framework.

    The rules for legal cannabis already exist in the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. They were subverted by each of the malformed federal definitions of marijuana.

    The original malformed federal definition of marijuana was introduced by the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, then it was subtly modified and placed in Schedule 1 by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, then it was severely modified to exclude hemp by the Farm Bill of 2018.

    Each of those definitions are malformed because they contain the same three deceptions that prevent them from being necessary and proper federal laws: 1. The Imbued Racism, 2. The Adumbrating Riddle, and 3. The Subsumed Cannabis Use Prohibitions.

    1. Each definition uses the Mexican term “marihuana” instead of its anglicized homonym “marijuana”.

    That term imbues racism into the law, and misdirects law enforcement efforts, which dishonors the Constitution.

    2. Each definition adumbrates the actual meaning of marijuana with this riddle embedded within its circumlocutory text: Marijuana is what substance that is “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.”, and simultaneously “does not include the mature stalks of such plant”?

    The solution to the riddle will clearly describe how marijuana is actually derived from cannabis.

    That adumbrating riddle facilitates the pernicious federal propaganda about both marijuana and cannabis, and enables the meaning of the definition to be misconstrued, which dishonors the Constitution. It also empowers the doublethink about marijuana (marijuana is a plant, marijuana is a drug).

    3. Each definition subsumes the legitimate federal prohibitions of cannabis use under the unjustly aggrandized prohibition of marijuana.

    Specifying those subsumed cannabis use prohibitions, which are derived from the 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, will restore and protect the powers, rights, privileges, and immunities of states, people, and citizens to control cannabis use.

    The constitutional rights to use cannabis that were established by those Amendments, were illicitly annulled by that aggrandized prohibition, which dishonors the Constitution.

    Reconstructing the current federal definition of marijuana in the necessary and proper way to eliminate those three deceptions altogether, will clarify the meaning of Schedule 1 marijuana, but carefully deschedule cannabis and render superfluous the recent federal definition of hemp.

    After the definition is reconstructed, then Schedule of marijuana itself can be reconsidered based on the adulterated medical value that it derives from cannabis, to determine whether to also deschedule that “other substance”, or to merely reschedule it. Patriots favoring cannabis can also participate in that debate.

    In either case, a perimeter of limited federal prohibitions will have been established to restore, protect, and encompass states’ regulations for the legal uses of carefully descheduled cannabis by citizens, which will beget local controls over the undesired proliferation of marijuana itself. This will also permit corporations to outsource cannabis for the creation of quality cannabis products, but preclude corporations from enticing children to “smoke marijuana”.

    Patriots favoring cannabis can contact their members of Congress about legislatively reconstructing the malformed federal definition of Schedule 1 marijuana in this straightforward, necessary and proper way that upholds our U.S. Constitution:

    The Reconstructed Definition.

    Sec. 802.
    (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.

    This literal reform will diminish the propaganda, redirect law enforcement, improve veterans access to quality cannabis medications, benefit the voters, favor the working class, and improve the economic situation of farmers and local businesses.

    The Reconstructed Definition will refresh the civil rights expressed in the legal documents of the Founding Fathers, by providing the foundation to help prevent misconstruction or abuse of the Constitution’s powers, extend the ground of public confidence in the Government, and best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution, as well as establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, by adhering to the self-evident truths that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, and that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Compare the Reconstructed Definition to the Malformed Definitions:

    1. The Original Malformed Definition of Marijuana, from the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

    Sec. 1.
    (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- but shall not include 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.

    2. The Scheduled Malformed Definition of Marijuana, from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

    Sec. 802.
    (16) 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. Such term does not include 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.

    3. The Severely Malformed Definition of Marijuana, from the Farm Bill of 2018.

    Sec. 802.
    (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 297A of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946; 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.

    4. The Misleading Definition of Hemp, created by the Farm Bill of 2018.

    Sec. 297A.
    (1) HEMP. The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

    The inaccurate federal definitions of marijuana and hemp mislead people into believing that those terms refer to separate types of cannabis when they actually refer to the separate uses of cannabis plants (cannabis smoke and cannabis fibers, respectively). We need to stop tolerating such deceptive federal definitions that burden our rights in favor of the wealthy elite.

  2. In the above long article submitted here I take umbrage to some words in the following passage “Sec. 802.
    (16) The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. is not legal for anyone “bearing” a firearm”
    This phrase “Not legal for anyone bearing a firearm” will back door annul the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights to any and all who would use or posses Cannabis.
    The RIGHT to Keep and Bare Arms is granted by GOD to each person and NOT given or allowed by government.
    Our founders knew and believed this and detailed this right in outlining and writing the US Constitution.
    The US Government as envisioned by the founders were to ONLY protect these “God given RIGHTS” and were NOT to abridge or annul these rights by some evasive language.
    I know some would say this part of the article’s meaning is intended for only those who use Cannabis and are under its influence are not to pick up a firearm BUT name me another intoxicant that is bound by this restraint or definition? There are NO other intoxicants bound by such intended laws.
    The worst of ALL intoxicants that has caused the worst of human nature to come to play with use and abuse is Alcohol.
    There has been untold harm and deaths have resulted from a drunk becoming enraged or acting a fool and acting in a manner they would not otherwise have acted to cause harm to themselves or others.
    No,this sly wording can and would be just another tool to disarm America and back door disarm and criminalize any and all who would use Cannabis for their health or just to relax and who happen to own grandpa’s old scatter gun.
    I would NEVER sit idle by and allow this kind of crap to be passed into law that would in the end take away my GOD GRANTED RIGHT to own a firearm and to defend myself,my loved ones or even my nation,if needed by evil doers and tyrants!

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