Some exciting news in the world of weed this week. Two republican members of the house have introduced a bill to remove cannabis from the Schedule. Republicans. Really. Scroll down to link to the entire story. Amazing. Astonishing. True. This is shaping up to be a fascinating year in reversing the dubious prohibition of cannabis from the human pharmacopeia.
Biggest complaint about cannabis growers: The smell
There’s a reason that cannabis in Hebrew is canna bosum, which roughly translates to fragrant flower. That’s exactly what it is. Fragrant. And it will continue to be a problem especially with indroor grow operations because there’s a lot of smell and not a lot of place for it to go other than by a ventiliation fan.
The press association in Mississippi is admitting that they ‘failed’ to publish the proposed law to legalize cannabis. Really? The Press Association is admitting it? There’s something strange about what’s being said here. No getting around it.
Duh. Not atypical at all that the dunderheads in legislatures wouldn’t allow smokable cannabis. Why? I believe it’s because of a lack of understanding of what cannabis is all about, especially medically. The legislators need to get their cannabis education up to snuff and figure out what is real and what is not.
Well, here are some laws that makes sense. If the drug is legal, why should it be part of a pre-employment test? A lot of the posturing around this is due to Federal restrictions, but it’s all starting to get kind of silly.
These idiots are in New Jersey, not the south. I don’t get it. Part of their reasoning is that it will have a ‘detrimental’ effect on the community. Bull-cookies. What they’re going to lose is both revenue and people who will be going to the nearest dispensary in the nearest town.
Here’s a new one. Republican lawmakers have filed a bill to remove cannabis from the schedule of controlled substances. Republicans. Both are from states with some form of ‘legal’ cannabis, but this is beyond anything I ever expected from republicans. Beyond. I can see a political consequence from this that would not be good for President Biden or the democrats. Biden was one of the architects of the draconian laws that passed in the 1990s that had mandatory prison terms and other nasty things in there for people with only a little marijuana in their pocket. If it passes, and that is not a given, and President Biden vetoes the bill, it will not be good for both the democratic party and especially for President Biden.
Cannabis has been mired in a miasma of stigma for the past 100 years. In the US, the stigma was created by the government and then embraced and perpetuated by the media beginning in the 1920s. In the 1930s, people who consumed our favorite plant were depicted as depraved, wild and barely in control. Or Jazz musicians. In the 1960s and 1970s, consumers of weed were depicted as unwashed hippies who had dirty feet, dirty minds, long unwashed hair and were depraved. Or Jazz musicians. In the 1980s or 1990s, cannabis consumers were still considered dirty hippies (the depiction stuck!) or depraved black and Hispanic gang-bangers who wanted to rape your (white) daughters. Or Jazz musicians.
The Rise of Media Sanity
By the 1990s, the media began to wise up to the Federal government propaganda along with the different State governments’ propaganda about drugs in general and in particular, cannabis. Media outlets were previously happy to parrot the government’s insistence that marijuana was a ‘gateway’ drug even with a boarload of evidence to the contrary. By the mid-1990s. the media and society as a whole began to realize there were real and demonstrated medical benefits that cannabis had. Legal medical marijuana sales began in California and slowly spread to other states, not by legislation, but by popular vote to amend state constitutions. Medical cannabis is now available in all but 9 states and adult use sales to anyone over the age of 21 is legal in 14 states. With new legalization laws passed in two more states; New Mexico and New York, more than half the population of the U.S. has or will have legal access to cannabis, either by medical programs or adult use.
As medical marijuana access grew, there needed to be places to purchase the plant, in whatever form it came in. The places to purchase cannabis were called dispensaries, pot shops, weed stores; but were in reality, whatever they’re called, are retail operations. There are only 8 states where cannabis is still totally illegal. Cannabis is still illegal at the Federal level. This article is not about the stupidity of the Federal government, but rather how state regulators keep the stigma that has been attached to the plant.
How Regulators Mandate the Retail Environment
Every single state with a cannabis program has some sort of a regulatory organization. The analog is alcohol where every state has an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) or a LCB (Liquor Control Board) or some other acronym. These regulatory agencies are charged with controlling cannabis in much the same way as the ABCs of America control alcohol. Except they don’t. They’re treating cannabis as a quasi legal drug; “It’s legal, but we don’t want it.” Or something like that. The fact is, cannabis is quasi-legal. There’s the Federal thing again. The regulators in the various states, whether medical only or adult use added in, all talk to each other. I know this because all the shops in all the states I’ve visited have all the same procedures for entry and purchase. Two states would be a coincidence. Three states? Four states? To be sure, there are some variations, but the similarities hugely outweigh the differences.
Some state laws that the voters passed read “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” or close to that. Are the regulators following the popular mandate? No, they are not. Could they? Of course. But their hands are tied. Since cannabis is not legal Federally, they have to skirt many Federal statutes pertaining to cannabis. And there are plenty. While it would be nice to place all the blame on those regulators and wrap things up all in a neat little bow, the Federal laws hamstring them as much as their own possible biases.
Buying – A Bottle of Wine vs. an 1/8th Ounce of Cannabis
In a world without stigma and Federal legalization, buying an eighth of an ounce of cannabis wouldn’t or shouldn’t be any different than buying a bottle of wine. But it is. State liquor regulations vs. state cannabis regulations are convoluted. That’s just the way it is…for now. Alcohol is legal at the Federal level and the states regulate it while cannabis is still illegal at the Federal level. So what do these ‘differences’ look like? Here is the two procedures for purchasing a bottle of wine or an eighth of cannabis:
Buying a Bottle of Wine
Walk into a wine store.
Peruse the bottles and select the one you want, either on your own or in consultation with a (hopefully) knowledgeable wine person.
Take your purchase to register.
Pay for it…maybe you’ll get carded, maybe not. If you’re over 40, chances are you won’t be asked to prove your age or identity.
Oh, and there is no limit on how much wine you can buy. If you want to buy every bottle in a store, there are generally no laws to stop you.
Four steps to purchase. Easy peasy. Now try to purchase an eighth of an ounce of cannabis. Here’s how that works.
Buying an Eighth of an Ounce of Cannabis
Walk into a cannabis store.
Before you can even enter the store, you’re immediately stopped at a counter where your bona fides are scrutinized by showing your drivers license and/or medical marijuana card. All this evidence is copied, sometimes sent to the state and if you pass, you’re eligible to purchase cannabis.
After your identity is vetted, you may have to wait for a budtender to be available. Once a budtender is available, you’re allowed to walk into the store.
The budtender will (hopefully) walk you through all the different strains. Each store is different, but the same. All stores seem to have Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of cannabis for purchase. In some stores, the precious metal levels correspond to the percentage of THC in the strain. In other stores, the levels are indicative of quality. We don’t price and sell wine by alcoholic strength, but frequently weed is priced by the percentage of THC.
Once you decide on the strain of weed, you want. The budtender either pulls out the package or weighs up your flower.
The budtender totals up your purchase and you pay them…in cash. Cannabis stores can’t take credit cards…yet. Has to do with Federal banking laws.
The cannabis products are then put into a bag and the bag is stapled shut.
With cannabis, you’re limited as to how much you can buy at any one time. In some states it’s an ounce. In others, 2 ounces. And the list goes on.
This procedure occurs in a majority, if not all of the cannabis legal states. Does it sound more onerous than purchasing a bottle of wine? Absolutely. In all the cannabis legal states, it’s more difficult to buy weed than it is to buy wine. This is a major contributor to the ongoing stigma of cannabis.
How Does Normalization Happen?
Cannabis normalization needs to come from the various regulatory agencies in the states. Once they realize cannabis can be treated like any other controlled, and legal, substance, like wine, then cannabis will begin to become normalized. How does this happen? Regulators need to take the rules by the reins and rewrite those rules. The rules need to reflect exactly what they’re like for alcohol. Since cannabis is an even more natural product then wine, which is processed (fermentation), continued testing for pesticides and fungicides is still going to be needed because there will always be unscrupulous operators in the market. But the modification of the regulations needs to start someplace.
This genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going to go back. Normalization simply means cannabis will be a part of our society. Not good. Not bad. Just a normative part of our society like alcohol or aspirin. Just there. Regulated, but there. Since we’re not going to get rid of alcoholic beverage regulation, we’re not going to get rid of cannabis regulation. But it should be regulated like alcohol. If I want to walk into a cannabis store and buy the entire inventory, I should be able to do just that. Or anything else that is an analog to the way I purchase alcohol.
The week in weed: This week we’ve got a mish-mash of stories. States are beginning to really recognize that marijuana arrests have been mostly racially driven. I don’t know if a pardon is as good as expungement, but it’s a start on a road that should have been traveled decades ago. States are also beginning to recognize that the ‘criminalization’ of weed was not the right thing to do. It’s time to recognize that cannabis is just there. It’s always been a part of human culture and turning it into a ‘hippie’ drug was not appropriate.
There are still the naysayers in the crowd, who think it should still be illegal. Then they bring up the specious argument about all the societal problems. This argument is specious because taking all the arguments for the three main drugs; alcohol, cannabis and nicotine it would be clear which ones should be ‘banned.’ It’s not cannabis. Sure, there are plenty of problems with weed, but they’re not as bad as alcohol, tobacco or other legal drugs…think opioids. Society will always have issues with drugs. There have been drug problems for over 5,000 years. It’s not going away, so let’s get sane.
This week in weed, we passed 4-20 for another year. The 50th Hash Bash was held in Ann Arbor. And at the same time, we’ve got legislators who want to tax cannabis on the basis of how much THC it has in it. Bad idea. Until we tax liquor the same way, what difference does it make. We still live under the influence of stupidity.
Yeah, we’re angry this week. The real news this week is our President and his refusal to remove cannabis from the Federal Drug Schedule. President Biden has consistently been talking out of both sides of his mouth about removing cannabis from Schedule 1 where there can be no legalization anywhere. He does say that if the states want to legalize cannabis, it’s OK. That’s out of one side of his mouth. Out of the other, he doesn’t believe in legalizing cannabis. There’s a face issue here as in ‘losing face.’ President Biden was one of the architects of the onerous drug laws passed in the 1990s. OK. It’s almost 30 years since that was passed and we believe it’s time to just let it go. Let the past go, Joe.
Here’s a bunch of stories about our president and how two faced he’s being about removing cannabis from of Schedule 1.
LEGALIZATION! It’s happening! In the week before our national holiday, “4-20” it’s time to take a quick look at legalization across the USofA. It’s happening,,,but with some sad exceptions. A majority of the citizens in our country live in an adult-use legal state. In the last 2 weeks, New Mexico, Virginia and New York have legalized. There are still several more states looking at legalizing. It seems like legislators are beginning to understand that a majority of Americans want to end the racist prohibition of cannabis. They have come to understand that legalization works, brings revenue into government coffers and people aren’t running around naked in the streets.
Sadly, there are still a few outliers. Wisconsin, Mississippi and several other states still have legislatures that don’t represent (or respect!) the people who elected them! Really. Almost all those legislatures are run by “Tea Party” republicans. So they’re a sham. Georgia, famous for other bad things these days along with both Carolina’s, North and South, just seem to be stuck in the 1970s. There is one powerful state senator in North Carolina who professes to support at least medical cannabis, but this will probably go nowhere as it has in the past. Also a few states in the far north who just don’t seem to get it these days.
There’s only one thing left; The Federal Government! For some reason, President Biden won’t just sign a document that would remove marijuana from Schedule 1 and decriminalize it at the same time. That would allow so many things like banking, which pot shops desperately need. Right now weed is a cash business, just like the old days when you bought your weed from your local, friendly dealer. This is not good with so much cash hanging without a place to put it.
Here’s are some articles without any comments that are showing what’s happening in the legalization space these few days before 4-20!