Those of us of a certain age may have resigned ourselves to the idea that Nixon’s stupid, racist, Prison Industrial Complex-funded War on Drugs would be a permanent fixture in our lives — the wall of opposition too dense, the logic too absent.
If (like me) you had given up following the depressing news on it years ago, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. Next Tuesday one or more states is almost guaranteed to completely legalize it. Not medically, just common-sensically. Like, grown adults can do what they want.
Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails
via US News & World Report
Come November 7, voters in one, if not two, U.S. states will have decided in favor of legally regulating cannabis. Why? The answer is clear: regulation works; prohibition fails.
There’s a ton of reading on this, I won’t even attempt to do a comprehensive breakdown. I’m not getting into the prison industrial complex or the inherent racism of the whole thing. My goal is mostly to spread the glad tidings. The given links will provide a clicky garden path that will let everything become clear.
A good starting point for the wonkier/data-driven types is of course NORML. They deserve a standing O for their Smoke Out the Vote campaign.
The two frontrunners appear to be Washington, with I-502, and Colorado, with Amendment 64. One or both of those are almost sure to pass.
From the NORML link above:
The campaign in Colorado supporting Amendment 64 has also released a new television ad, this one focusing on the issues facing our veterans suffering from PTSD. The commercial features a father and returning veteran who is unable to procure the cannabis he needs for his condition under Colorado’s medical marijuana laws. Under the current law, patients suffering with PTSD do not qualify for access, but Amendment 64 would remove criminal penalties for possession and would provide them places of safe retail venues at which to procure their medicine.
[T]he latest polling from PPP had Amendment 64 leading by ten points, 53% support to 43% opposition.
I have PTSD, and haven’t been able to smoke marijuana in almost a decade. It sucks. Everyone I know that has PTSD wants to smoke weed pretty much every day.
The Democratic Party of my home state, North Carolina, has passed a resolution supporting medical marijuana.
House Bill 577 amends state law to “authorize an individual to use marijuana for medical purposes as directed by a physician.” HB 577 would allow patients both the ability to cultivate their own cannabis at home or to purchase it at state licensed distribution centers. This proposal remains pending before the House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations and has yet to be assigned a hearing.
People will be heavily lobbying the state house in February. Hopefully it passes, and with PTSD as a qualifying condition.
Currently only New Mexico allows prescription marijuana for PTSD, and the forces of stupid are fighting hard to roll that back, no pun intended. Arizona similarly has a pack of *ssholes trying to gut their medical marijuana bill, as does Montana. And note, none of these patriotic heroes give a damn about PTSD or our veterans (or retired public safety personnel, who almost all have it).
An alert reader sent me this link, which notes that although New Mexico is the only state that explicitly names PTSD, California’s law is flexible enough to permit doctors to prescribe as they see fit.
In my travels researching this issue, I have discovered a stunning array of unexpected supporters; check out the Marijuana Majority.
Turns out that Pat Robertson, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sarah Palin, David Koch, William F. Buckley, the Cato Institute, and many more wacky villains all think the whole thing is stupid and needs to stop already. (Note: President Obama not included on list of people who want to end the WOD/legalize it. Rick Perry is to the left of President Obama on this, go figure.)
Polling data released last week by Strategies 360 had I-502 [Washington] at 54% support with opposition trailing at 38%.
One more thing putting the pressure on: The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance is being challenged again by way of ASA v. DEA. The long and short of it, marijuana is considered an extremely abusable drug with no redeeming value, in the eyes of the DEA — who both write and enforce the laws in their wheelhouse. It’s good to be king!
The DEA rejected the petition in June 2011. Administrator Michelle Leonhart declared that marijuana had no accepted medical use, because no form of it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Department of Health and Human Services had previously concurred that it had a high potential for abuse, because an estimated more than 14 million people get high illegally at least once a month.
As a paramedic let me assure you of the utter idiocy of the Schedule I classification. Of all the 911 calls I’ve ever run, approximately zero of them were caused by marijuana alone. That’s 0%. When marijuana was involved, it was in conjunction with alcohol (the grand prize winner of things that should be Schedule I IMHO), cocaine, amphetamines, or prescription pills.
Alcohol is job security for first responders, plain and simple. Drunks get strapped to backboards constantly, because they wrecked cars, got in fights, did random stupid things, drank way too much, blew our their pancreatitis, went into liver failure, etc. And they are the mainstay of the emergency rooms Mittens wants everybody to go to. They’re the single largest group of 911 customers, with no close second, in my experience.
Cocaine users frequently call 911 when they notice they’re having a heart attack and still can’t stop. Nobody’s ever had that experience no matter how much weed they smoked. Nobody’s ever been on a two-week long weed binge and couldn’t stop even though they realized it was killing them. You know why? They fell asleep long before that level of problem could arise.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone try to detox from alcohol or benzodiazepenes, i.e., Valium, Ativan, etc. but it’s not pretty. Both of those withdrawals need to be medically supervised, unlike someone who stops using marijuana — even after years. Yet benzodiazepenes are a Schedule IV, and alcohol is unscheduled. Here’s more info on that whole pile of malarkey if you’re interested.
Ultimately the DEA already had more than enough scientific evidence to revise the schedule 20 years ago when the door knocking began. It’s bullsh*t and we all know it. The obstacles are purely political. So even if they punk ASA on this case, guess what? The barbarians are at the gates, suckers. There will be another challenge, and another one after that, and meanwhile we’re knocking the states down one at a time.
Unfortunately for the obstructionists, the meter’s running. Their ability to dismiss the majority of Americans with a flick of their wrists is coming to an end.
It seems to me that once one state has full-on availability and regulation, the others will begin falling like bricks. The federal government will eventually have no choice but to pull its head out of its *ss.
The Cliff Notes for 11/7/2012:
*Washington and/or Colorado will likely have wide open access after this election. (It will take a while to get situated, but the law will be in place.)
*Massachussets will likely legalize medical marijuana.
*A number of municipalities in Michigan are likely to decriminalize it.
*Arkansas‘ medical marijuana bill is not likely to pass.
*Oregon‘s aggressive full-on legalization bill is not likely to pass… this time.