A recent piece published by Politico takes an in-depth look at the way legalization – specifically in California – is destroying the livelihoods of thousands of cannabis growers in the state. It’s a subject we covered earlier this year while reviewing the Netflix docuseries Murder Mountain.
Under decent circumstances, the bemoaning of the situation by illegal marijuana growers and dealers would come across a lot of whining by crybabies who can’t adjust to the new – and better – way of doing things.
But one would be hard-pressed to describe the way in which marijuana is being legalized in the U.S. as “decent”.
To be fair, moving an industry into the open that has operated in the shadows for several decades isn’t an easy task. Lawmakers and officials and regulators have their hands full making up for a prohibition that should have never been enacted in the first place, one that has deprived the industry of 70+ years of being built in a legal environment.
But two major factors are contributing to the haphazard, inefficient and patchwork way in which marijuana legalization is coming into being in the United States: 1) The general incompetence of the people who choose politics and bureaucracy as a career path, i.e those who can’t make a living in the real world doing actual work and 2) the overriding notion among these incompetent people that cannabis is a dangerous substance that must be regulated and restricted to the utmost, lest the devil’s lettuce be unleashed among an unsuspecting populace.
While the incompetence of the political class is a problem that dates back to whoever the first politician was and won’t likely be solved by us, the notion of marijuana’s danger is one we combat every day here at The Marijuana Times. No, I’m not saying that marijuana is completely “harmless” and that everyone should run out and get themselves some. But, it should be your choice. What I am saying is marijuana is one of the safest substances on this entire earth. Compare it to literally any other substance and I’d bet good money on marijuana being safer.
For example, if you and I sit in a room and I smoke joints continuously while you drink glasses of water continuously, who will feel better at the end of the day? Water, after all, is necessary for life itself. Most of the planet is water and most of a human being is water as well. But we all know the answer to that question. If the person drinking the water drank too much they could end the day dead. I, however, will be perfectly fine. Sleepy maybe, and starving to be sure. My throat would probably hurt from so many joints, but that is a problem easily remedied by using another ingestion method.
But I’ll be alive and in the same general condition of health I was when I started smoking the joints. If anything, the medicinal aspects of marijuana will likely have improved my overall health.
Yet I can buy water anywhere. I don’t even need an I.D. I just pay for it in hundreds of thousands/millions of locations nationwide and walk right out the door with as many bottles as I can afford/transport.
Marijuana just needs to be legalized. Would some rules help? Probably, but acting as if every contingency must be planned for and hemmed-in before legalization can be allowed is a ridiculous waste of time that is doing very real damage to the legal cannabis industry and its ability to grow.
And even sadder, the way legalization is being rolled out is depriving the industry of an untold amount of knowledge while harming an uncountable number of lives.
The current malformed definition of marijuana with its exemption for hemp can be represented by a thick doughnut of marijuana prohibitions with a small hole representing legal hemp.
Reconstructing the malformed federal definition of Schedule 1 marijuana so that it clearly describes how marijuana is actually derived from cannabis and reduces federal prohibitions to constitutionally valid concerns, can be represented by a thinner doughnut of marijuana prohibitions with a large descheduled cannabis hole that concentrically surrounds the small hemp hole at its center.
Removing the reconstructed definition from Schedule 1 will simply expand the diameter of the descheduled cannabis hole within the marijuana prohibition doughnut. The expansion of the cannabis hole will correspond to whether marijuana itself is rescheduled to which schedule, or descheduled. Picture an even thinner marijuana prohibition doughnut with the same diameter.
This reconstruction of the malformed federal definition of marijuana specifies the perimeter of prohibitions represented by the marijuana prohibition doughnut, but leaves the thinness of the doughnut to be determined by separate consideration:
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.
Maybe this doughnut analogy will help smooth the transition to carefully descheduled cannabis.