Thursday, October 23, 2014

Marijuana Vote 2014: Should Pot Be Legal?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/9179211415
The 2014 midterm election has a few eye-catching marijuana initiatives, either for medicinal use or to legalize it as Colorado and Washington did in 2012. Those landmark states allow adults over 21 to possess and use pot in modest amounts though the details get a little murkier when it comes to transactions like selling, the exact weights, the ages and home locations of people involved. Go figure.
23 other states have already passed some measure of medicinal use and/or decriminalized personal use of small amounts. Thoughts ahead to 2016 include how many states may allow further medical use, further recreational use, further pet use (see below), or even talk of downright federal legalization.

Legalize it?
Seems like a stretch since the federal government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous controlled substance category that has "no known medical use and is highly abusive." Cocaine is a Schedule 2 drug, allowing for medical use. What about the approximately 40,000 inmates currently in prison for marijuana-related offenses? (That's more than inmates of homicides, burglaries and sex crimes combined.)
Oregon and Alaska both have similar measures, 91 and 2, to what Colorado and Washington have passed, essentially legalizing personal use and in theory benefiting from the commodity's taxation. The problem  is that most pot is still sold under the table to avoid excessive taxes, plus banks are shy to do business with weed dealers. Again, go figure. But if Oregon and Alaska legalize marijuana, that should royally piss off Californians to be so far behind the times since California was the state that got the whole medical joint rolling back in 1996. Hard to believe it's been 18 years.

Grandma likes herb
One state voting on medicinal marijuana is Florida, which has by far the largest percentage of citizens over 65, an age group noted for care-taking needs and often steeped in tradition. Just guessing, might be a close vote there.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dustinq/485932555

Undo the damage done
Perhaps the most interesting vote since the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act is Initiative 71 in Washington D.C. that seeks to fully legalize the possession and use of up to two ounces of marijuana and the possession and cultivation of up to three marijuana plants. If it passes, one would assume the lines drawn by the federal government will need to be made much clearer or perhaps eliminated altogether.

The future
The horizon is poised for an explosive evolution, similar to when the large lizards died out and mammals roamed freely. Imagine buying a snack from a pot vending machine like the ones distributed by Zazzz. Or for those who like their feet more grounded, how about cannabidiol for your ailments, all the healing without the high? There's even companies like Canna-Pet that make pet food, treats and oils. Again, it's for good health and not for getting Kitty stoned, you can stick to the catnip for that. And my cereal wouldn't be the same without a scoop of hemp seeds thrown in, bought at Costco but imported from Canada of course.

Okay, you can have your weed but God please not your hemp!
IMO, the strangest aspect about all of this is that hemp is still illegal, a wonderful plant that can be used for textiles, plastics, paper, food, fuels, building materials and much more. Believe it or not, it used to be illegal NOT to grow hemp in Virginia due to its versatility. Fun fact: hemp doesn't get you high, it's simply a great plant that can be used for just about anything and that's why our forefathers grew it. The war against this plant is beyond something that doesn't make sense; it's a paradox and a travesty and seriously needs fixing.

What do you think--should pot be legal? Or dare I say it, should hemp be legal? Leave a comment.
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Home Page of author Jason Matthews.

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