Roll Call

rollcall

At this point there are 21 out of 50 American states that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana for some form of medical use. Only 2 states have gone so far as to allow recreational use for adults. 6 other states are in the midst of some kind of pending legislation process. Whether any newly enacted laws will result in stictly medical protocols or decriminalization remains to be seen. There is no real coherent strategy forming. To each state their own ideas and level of cannabis control comfort.

I think at this rate it’s safe to say we are at a tipping point. If a majority of states pass working marijuana laws will that force the federal government to reevaluate it’s own stance? We certainly hope so. Marijuana is currently categorized as a Schedule 1 drug. So according to federal law it’s more dangerous than cocaine or methamphetamines, has no currently accepted medical applications and has a high potential for abuse. It also puts users at risk for severe psychological and physical dependence. I know it sounds like propoganda. It seems laughable that meth and coke are more acceptable and less harmful. I have never heard of a grow house exploding. I’m speculating but I presume there is significant smuggling of marijuana between states but not as much across international borders as compared to our powdery white friend. Even the legality and access of cigarettes and alcohol are making the argument against recreational marijuana weak. Recent issues regarding public vs. private consumption highlight a few key points. Many of the existing laws have these convoluted or gray areas. Context is key to usage and many scenarios were not accounted for by these laws. A home owner in Colorado theoretically has the right to sit on his porch and enjoy his _______. Except then a neighbor complains because he is aware of it. Well The same complaint could be lodged against a chain smoker or the drunken belligerent party on the balcony. Nuisance is subjective. Speaking of parties, what happens if some organizations want to have an event that caters to the cannabis crowd? Semantics ensue. Where are the boundaries? Theoretically if I’m a private venue owner and people of age are invited to bring their own treats there should be no problem because it’s not public property or exposing the public directly. Then there are the counties and local governments that insist on being inhospitable to the medical marijuana community by persecuting patients growing their own plants and raiding legitimate dispensaries. These entities love taking these baseless cases federal because that is their only recourse. I would concede that they have that right except they are sidestepping their own democratically elected state policies in favor of those that align with their personal beliefs. While I don’t disagree with the view that medical marijuana access can be a predecessor to legalized recreational use we must recognize the fundamental need for honoring the existing laws and respecting the rights of citizens.

Not doing so is highly problematic because local and state police are charged with upholding THOSE laws. Furthermore I would hazard that they don’t usually take too kindly to federal agencies interfering in their business. Reaching out to them for support in cases that are essentially fabricated strikes me as bullying at the very least and obviously a gross and unjust application of law. What is the point of state law if it will not be enforced?  *Insert jokes about secession here*

It’s true that legalization of marijuana on any level is rare but not nonexistent. Many countries either choose not to address it in law or make allowances for personal possesssion and consumption. Some countries like the US have policies that vary by state.

Uruguay is the most recent country to make headlines for allowing growth, sale and consumption. Citizens must be 18, buy no more than 40grams a month and possess no more than 6 plants per registered person for personal use.

Similarly Argentina allows for small quantities to be grown or possessed for personal use. Colombian law let’s folks possess less than 20 grams of marijuana & less than 1 gram of cocaine or heroine.

Australia has decriminalized it in many states and citizens will only receive a ticket for anything less than 50 grams. Belgium is a bit stricter. Allowing only 5 grams or less for anyone over 18 and no smoking in the presence of minors. Also only 1 female plant can be kept at a time. The rumor is for anything outside of those guidelines people just go to Holland where it’s less restrictive. Possession is legal in the Netherlands as is surprisingly the case in North Korea. Nepal in the 1960′s and 70′s was a hippie mecca due in large part to the status of marijuana. There it has been illegal since 1973 but is still widely used by holy men. That is a segue to another next post. The ancient and revered history of the plant.

However in conclusion of this one I have to say that this is fairly new territory we’re in and caution coupled with informed passion would be a profound approach to this type of shift. Many facets have to be accounted for and if we can’t have an open and honest dialog about what’s happening then we might as well all build fences around our lives. That’s It! Wall out your pot smoking neighbor. Even if they are a veteran or a cancer patient or maybe they are just stressed out by work. Pretend they don’t exist because their choices bother you. They don’t infringe upon any of your liberties but you don’t like knowing it’s happening so close to you. That’s silly isn’t it? It is if you can walk to a liquor or drug store from your house. It is if you can buy a soda without leaving your building or your block. I think it’s even sillier for people in rural areas because that is why they live far and away in the first place. To mind their own business in private.

 

 

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