Visit our Website for more content: www.mmmrmag.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Free the Weed 78 - by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from Amsterdam, still the marijuana capital of the world where you can buy your weed over the counter in a coffeeshop, sit down, roll it up, and smoke it to your heart’s content. There’s a coffeeshop for every taste, in every part of town and you may obtain five grams at a time from the menu of tasty selections of cannabis and hashish on offer by the gram.

Amsterdam’s smokers have developed this highly civilized system for taking care of their everyday toking needs over the past 45 years. Although the federal government has carried on an intensive campaign to shut down as many coffeeshops as they can get away with, there remain close to 200 operating coffeeshops in the city. Certainly enough to take care of everybody who wants to get high.

At the same time the coffeeshops began to take root in Amsterdam, people in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and East Lansing, Michigan determined that marijuana use was no more of a social problem than say, jaywalking. With any cannabis crimes that captured the attention of the police warranting no more than a $5 ticket to the offender—no arrest, no criminal charge, no foul, no pain.

This was a pretty good solution for the time, quite simple and easy to effect. No harmful results for the smoker and efficiently removing the police force from the socially repulsive task of harassing marijuana smokers for getting high. By the same token, the coffeeshops in Amsterdam were allowed to grow and flourish unchecked for about 20 years; until the authorities reared their ugly heads in the mid-1990s to force registration and licensing of the coffeeshops as a harbinger of more and more repressive moves that continue to this day.

The most terrible thing about marijuana laws and regulations of any kind is that there’s nothing wrong with marijuana. The entire rationale for outlawing marijuana was completely fabricated by the federal narcotics authorities. They were eager to expand their realm of power and their crusade was swallowed whole by the lawmakers in Washington D. C., and the many state capitals that were quick to categorize this harmless weed as a narcotic.

Marijuana was never a narcotic. It was never a “dangerous drug.” The term “controlled substance” is more accurate, but says nothing about what cannabis is nor what it does for us. Basically, it is green vegetable matter with healing properties and the propensity to alter the user’s consciousness for the better, to brighten and improve one’s mental outlook and make one feel better all over.

A joint of marijuana has about as much potential for social harm as a carrot. In a rational world intent upon peace and mutual understanding, marijuana use should be encouraged by all social sectors and treasured as an inalienable human right.

Recognition of marijuana’s medical potential by California voters in 1996 changed the terms of cannabis suppression and forged an alternative course for marijuana smokers to follow in our quest to obtain and enjoy our medicine. Michigan voters recognized the medical use of marijuana in 2008 with a simple, straight-forward initiative that provided for personal growing by patients and the assistance of caregivers, who would grow and provide for patients who couldn’t do it for themselves.

There was no detailed regulatory scheme proposed by the State of Michigan other than to force marijuana patients to register with a state agency and wait for months to receive their patient identification cards, issued without the recipients’ photographs attached.

From 2008 to 2016, there were no regulations in place governing the establishment and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries, commonly called “compassionate care centers”. These businesses were either allowed to flourish or subjected to police raids entirely at the whim of local and county law enforcement officials.

Not until the ill-advised MILegalize campaign in 2016, which attempted to extend the timeframe for submitting signatures to place the issue of legalized recreational marijuana on the ballot, failed to succeed did the state legislature take up the issue of regulation, and exert its attempts to counteract the will of the electorate by creating an elaborate bureaucracy. A bureaucracy which was designed—among other things—to trace the progress of every marijuana seed sold in the State of Michigan.

Now this legislation has matured over the past year to involve the establishment of a state licensing agency called LARA. Staffed with former state police officers and lobbyists, LARA wants to shut down all operating dispensaries in Michigan until the agency can get its licensing criteria and application process established.

Sergeant Donald Bailey, MSP

Michael Gerstein reported in The Detroit News recently that retired State Police sergeant Donald Bailey, a member of the state board charged with creating new rules for the medical marijuana industry, called for all existing dispensaries to be shuttered until official licenses can be doled out. But, Gerstein said, the board tabled the issue until the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation and the office of Attorney General Bill Schuette could weigh in on the proposal.

The state board is following the lead of the Insane Clown Posse (posing as the Detroit City Council) who has caused significant damage of their own, with their rampage against the scores of marijuana dispensaries that have opened in neighborhoods all over the city.

I know I’ve been harping on this issue for months, but this is one of the stupidest examples of public marijuana policy I’ve ever witnessed. Led by Detroit corporation counsel, Melvin Hollowell (better known as Butch), the city’s crackdown on illegally operating medical marijuana dispensaries has closed 218 shops. The city's regulation efforts began last year when 283 dispensaries were identified.

"None of them were operating lawfully," Hollowell told Katrease Stafford of the Detroit Free Press, who reported that “the new ordinances require operators to obtain a business license designed for the medical marijuana stores.” In the year since the regulatory system was approved, Stafford says, “only five have been licensed and are legally allowed to operate within city limits,” with Hallowell’s goal to permit only 50 dispensaries citywide. “The licensed shops are prohibited from operating within a 1,000-foot radius of a church, school, park, liquor store, other dispensaries and other places considered a drug-free zone under city law, such as libraries or child care centers. They also must close by 8 p.m.”

Perhaps no one else has noticed, but the proliferation of medical marijuana outlets in the city of Detroit is one of the most positive signs of renewal in Detroit’s many years of urban decline. Abandoned storefronts and other facilities have been reclaimed, reopened, painted and staffed with citizen employees. Medical marijuana patients are able to obtain their medicine in a safe and well-run environment. One would think the City would be looking forward to the millions of new tax dollars generated by these establishments.

Dispensaries sprouted up in response to patient's need for their medicine. There were no licensing procedures or regulatory guidelines proposed by city or state authorities whatsoever for more than eight years. The citizens who opened these dispensaries should have been awarded for their foresight and hard work rather than persecuted and punished by the authorities. This goes for the entire State of Michigan as well as the City of Detroit.

Where do they get these people? Free The Weed!

—Amsterdam
August 25, 2017

© 2017 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
    Mmjherb

    ReplyDelete