Today is 420, the popular code for “marijuana” use. There are 420 celebrations all over the world today, in at least a dozen major cities. Throughout the world, “four twenty” is recognized, and can get one connected, or busted, in places no English is spoken.
Certainly one would think the Prospect would have some raucous celebration, but not so.
Cannabis is in a strange place in California, and in the U.S., right now. Legally, in California, medical cannabis is widely recognized and in most counties even the dumbest, most bellicose cop won’t harass someone with a 215 (for Prop 215) recommendation. The franchise tax board approved sales tax on medical marijuana, giving it full legal status. At the same time, there are still places that want to outlaw medical marijuana dispensaries, though they routinely approve bars. Eventually a definitive patient’s rights lawsuit will come along and all counties will be required to allow a sufficient number of dispensaries. There are already enough dispensaries to represent a powerful lobbying voice in politics. It comes as a surprise to some that these medical growers and dispensers don’t want cannabis legalized. If it is, their business would go to grocery stores and liquor bars, and the price would drop. They lobbied heavily among their clients to vote against full legalization.
Nationwide there are more and more states with some form of legalized medical marijuana, with 15 states having legal med can, and another 10 with legislation in the works. In most states simple possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor. Obama stated that his administration wouldn’t pursue medical marijuana in states where it was legal, but there have still been some busts.
In California, the legislature is closer than ever to passing a law that would prevent medical marijuana users from being penalized in employment. That will bring literally thousands of skilled, expert workers back into legitimate employment without fear of a “pee test”.
It isn’t hard to imagine the feds returning the issue to the states, as with alcohol, and most states legalizing it before 2015. The issue is pregnant with change, it only requires one state to successfully legalize and tax.
But this increasing legalization has a downside, and it’s a real problem, not an “amotivational syndrome” problem. Little people, those who were willing to live in the edge, benefited from the illegal status of cannabis. Just as medical legalization reduced the price and created a “burgher” class of medical growers and marketers, full legalization will bring in industrial growers and marketers. The big drug sellers, like Walmart, won’t touch cannabis now, but when it is finally a legal product, Walmart will if Kmart does.
Ganja is such a simple weed, happy to grow anywhere and eager to give us fiber, medicine and food. Only humans could muck up a gift of nature like that.