Oregon Cannabis Connection
As a young brown man in America, I was told not to light a lighter in the car at night because it gives the police a reason to pull you over. I thought everyone thought like this, but they don’t. We’re a long way from this kind of fear today, but yet again, not far enough.
There are horrible people out there, and some smoke pot and some go to church. Bad guys aren’t just gangbangers, rapist, and murderers, they can also be police, prosecutors, and judges—people willing to hurt others over a plant, based on an archaic law, not science or common sense. To me that’s like being 40 and proclaiming you still believe in Santa Claus; ignorance is no longer an excuse when it comes to the greater good.
As of 2014, Washington state has legalized recreational marijuana, but in reality what they really did was put the state in control of the market: he state, who own the police. As of July 1st, all medical dispensaries statewide had to close their doors, despite the fact that they were working in a grey area and allowed to operate before. Washington’s I-502, and the subsequent Senate Bill 5052, finally created a situation that made existence of the medical program impossible. What was a medical marijuana system before, and what was an open and fair market for growers, patients, and cannabis connoisseurs, is now gone.
July 1st was the final day of what had been known as Washington medical marijuana. The recreational vs. medical debate is important because marijuana needs to be recognized as a holistic choice, just like aloe vera.
When it comes to recreational vs. medical, the real debate is not what type of market should exist, but what type of regulation should. The question isn’t the safety of a neighborhood, but how that neighborhood can benefit from tax dollars. Marijuana brings no worse clientele than that of a restaurant that serves beer. There is little reason for ignorance when it comes to marijuana.
When people refer to it as a legalization “experiment,” they are just being dumb, since we are long past the experiment stage. It’s been legal here in the United States since 1996, thanks to California’s Prop.215, and then in 1998 Washington legalized. Voters realized that people who smoke pot are going to find a way. Now the attitudes and knowledge, are very different.
Even so, some people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that marijuana does the body good! Besides the feelings of elation and relaxation, it also helps the body heal in so many ways because we have what’s known as the endocannabinoid system. This system works along with all the other systems in our body, like the immune system and nervous system. We know more about the sub-components in marijuana than we do about the parts of the latest and greatest Viagra pill that will be FDA-approved as long as it comes with warnings like: “May make you bleed” or “May cause suicidal thoughts”. How is any of this okay? Why does Big Pharma get a pass while the holistic farmer gets a jail sentence?
Growing up, I heard adults using words like “regulation” and “free market.” I never knew what they meant until I experienced the gloriousness of what was Washington’s medical marijuana scene. At its height there was everything from dispensaries to marijuana farmer’s markets to dab lounges. During this time there was no mass epidemic of accidents or people neglecting to go to work. There was no mass outcry from the public about the horrible marijuana menace, and that’s because people used responsibly, something we expect from most human beings.
It was nice! On the weekends I would visit different markets and get all types of samples, which allowed me to make an informed decision on the best medicine for me. During the week, after a long day, I had the option to buy a dab for $3–5which would usually set me straight—and carry out the rest of my day. Now, with the present I-502 structure, along with the subsequent SB 5052, none of this can happen. In fact, many who were part of the original frontlines for Washington marijuana have been hurt.
Marijuana enforcement agencies, whether the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the Liquor Control Board (LCB), are in the process of “job justification.” Some of the rules that have been put in place are worthless and are just an extension of willful ignorance over a plant that doesn’t create the same intoxication as alcohol, or even over-the-counter Benadryl! There has been too much focus on plant regulation when, the truth is, lab regulation and process regulation are all the regulation needed. In the end, an informed consumer is a healthy consumer.
Marijuana is medicine; thinking of it as anything less is ignorant. Why are there age limits for a non-toxic, medicinal plant? In Washington, the recreational marijuana law age limit is 21. Why? Why not 18? If a person can die in a war fighting for the military for this country, they should be allowed to smoke a joint.
Our country stands divided by violence and personal entitlement. A lot of this was caused by the drug war and our inability to know the truth when it comes to justice—of know right and wrong. When you realize that marijuana is not the drug you were taught it was in high school, and that our laws and our government have been bought and sold, you also realize that everything you thought you knew about it is wrong. In a sense, marijuana is safer than apples and grapes, which can be used to make alcohol, which is toxic and can kill you. Marijuana has never killed anyone.
The way cannabis was legalized in Washington is not the best example of how it should be done and it has hurt many entrepreneurs who initially opened doors under medical marijuana. But it has proven a point: People can hold 9-to-5 jobs while consuming. People who consume are your friends and neighbors.
As we progress forward in our thinking of how to treat marijuana in our society, let us remember that Washington had an open and free market, and it didn’t cause the zombie apocalypse.
© 2016 Oregon Cannabis Connection. All rights reserved.