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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Verdict? NOT GUILTY - by Citizen Jay

     You know what?  I’m tired of waiting.  I’m tired of waiting to see if the Federal Government is going to legalize cannabis (we know they will eventually).  I’m tired of waiting to see if there will be more scientific studies done about the positive effects of cannabis.  I’m tired of waiting for my chosen candidate to wholeheartedly endorse the freedom of states to continue with their own cannabis legalization efforts.  I’m tired of waiting to see if “experiments” like the ones in Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and D.C. have been a success.
 
     Well, I say the wait is over.  There I’ve done it.  I’ve called it.  It’s done.  Caput.  Over.  No more “wait and see” necessary.  We’re past that now. 

     The state’s “experiments” ARE a success.  No reason to wait any longer to see that.  All the figures are in and they’re all good.  Even when the prohibitionists try to fix the numbers so they look bad they can’t.  Because the numbers ARE good.  The sky has not fallen.  It’s been a few years now since Colorado has had medical cannabis available in good measure.  Fifteen years to be exact.  Let that sink in… FIFTEEN years of medical cannabis in Colorado.  And that’s full on regulated cannabis—not that free-for-all they’ve had in California since 1996.  Well, at least until very recently (thanks Governor Brown!). 

     In each of the medical states, the people wanted it.  They voted for it.  They implemented it.  And now they’re enjoying the benefits of it.  And this phenomenon is and has been happening to various degrees across the country.  And it’s picking up steam.

     I declare that Medical Cannabis has had its day!  It has been implemented in almost half of these United States.  And where it’s been implemented the benefits are clear.  My favorite benefit?  How about the decrease in suicides in every state with a medical cannabis program.  This is especially salient for our vets.  Another favorite benefit—decreased opiate deaths. 

     While others are holding fast to the “wait-and-see” approach, those with the intrepid fortitude to forge ahead are experiencing new markets, new ways of feeling better, and more solid communities.  But in spite of all the empirical evidence mounting in favor of cannabis legalization there is still such a strong hold-out opposition.  Why is this?  I think it is fear.  But what drives this fear?

     Most people expediently point to the stance of the Federal Government.  In those states that have medical and adult 21+ cannabis markets there are numerous issues that have proved difficult to resolve due to the stance of the Federal Government.  Simplest example is the whole banking issue.  No cannabis business or any cannabis related organization has been able to use a mainstream bank.  Oh, there are a few that have managed to fix their way into the system by being clever; but eventually they get caught and thrown out.  Companies are constantly having to set up new accounts and move their operations from one bank to another as the true nature of their businesses are found out.  It’s like an absurd shell game.  Where no one’s the winner. 

     It’s not that the banks don’t want that phat cannabis money.  It’s not that the states have set up road blocks to make it hard for banks to work with cannabis companies.  Quite the opposite, some states have gone so far as to pass legislation approving the banking-cannabis relationship.  Even Congress has passed legislation stating it is okay for banks to work with the cannabis industry.  The Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015 “provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from: (1) terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or (2) prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering such services.”

     But to this day there is still no cannabis bank because the folks at the Federal Reserve refuse to allow any cannabis banking venture.  They won’t do it as long as cannabis remains a Schedule I drug by DEA standards.  As far as I can tell it’s not a legal thing.  It’s merely their preference.  They reside in Kansas.  That says enough right there…
What else can I say?  We have a large government and sometimes one part doesn’t always agree with the other; nonetheless even know what the other is doing or saying.  Left hand meet right hand…it’s a story all too familiar in our politic. 

     What’s lacking is leadership.  And that has got to come from above.  In this case “above” means the entire Federal Government.  It’s fantastic that the presidential candidates are talking about cannabis legalization.   Absolutely brilliant!  But just listen to what most of them are saying…they want to “wait-and-see.”  I say that’s a cop out.  We’ve already waited.  We’ve already seen.
As long as our leaders refuse to lead on the issue of cannabis legalization our cause will only progress so far.  Our current president has refused to move on the matter other than to utter some conciliatory remarks on occasion.  I’m sure Mr. Obama has his good reasons.  It will definitely be easier for the next president.  But even that is not enough.  The entire Federal Government has to get on board from policy makers to the enforcers who knock heads around as a result of those policies.     

     For the last 78 years our Federal Government has been held hostage to an idea whose vitriolic beginnings have prejudiced the very course of our nation’s administration.  That’s a long time.  A long time for the rule of fear.  A long time for the rule of hatred and prejudice.  A long time to be accused of being “other,” of being “criminal.”  Time enough for corruption.  Time enough for deception.  For 78 years cannabis and those who chose to use it have been indicted of crimes most heinous…

The verdict?  Not guilty.  The time for waiting is over.

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