Cannabis Law Reform: Real Legalization, Or Just “Giving Us Permission”?
With all the demand for marijuana law reform coming from sensible citizens of the world, there are a lot of terms being thrown around. Decriminalization. Alternative Sentencing. Medical. Recreational. Do any of them amount to legitimate legalization? I would say not. I would say it is more like “giving us permission” to use cannabis. Which is demeaning to both people and the cannabis plant. To illuminate my point, let’s take a look at recreational cannabis laws, in states like Colorado and Washington.
The cannabis plant never should have been declared “illegal” in the first place. Now we’re fighting our way back. Informed members of the cannabis community know this was a political manipulation meant to benefit an already economically advantaged few. One of the first, and worst, manipulations of American public opinion in America’s short history.
No one really has the right to tell you what to do with a plant. But they do. There are a few reasons that the legislation is moving in the direction it is.
One is that the laws are being developed based in opinions formed by a history of brainwashing. Then there is the fact that while the cannabis industry thrives, another industry is threatened, the drug prevention and treatment industries. Third, politicians have long linked “pot smokers” with counter culture and divergent opinions so to admit they have legitimacy is an embarrassment for them, almost an admission of guilt.
There is a demonizing and sometimes illogical reasoning in the new recreational laws. First, there are the restrictions on advertising. Did you know they cannot have any cartoons or fun illustrations in packaging, promotion, or advertising, even though this appeals to the customer base, claiming that it could influence children? Well, besides violating first amendment rights in my opinion, how about we try to speak honestly to our kids about cannabis, instead of perpetuating the lies and fear? Educating them honestly protects our kids and society much more effectively.
Second, the jail terms of cannabis POW’s will not be overturned. The rationale for this is that they are in jail because they “knowingly broke the law”. By that logic, shouldn’t rapists and murderers and thieves and any “criminal” serve the same jail time? Because they don’t. At present time, rapists and murderers often serve less time than many cannabis “violators”.
Finally, there are the taxes. Come on, that’s just taking advantage and setting arbitrary rates for which I would like to know the basis. I’ll break it down: Prices were always high on the black market because suppliers were taking a risk providing it. Take that risk away, and the price should go down, no? But prices of legalized marijuana, thanks to taxes, are now equal to, if not higher, than black market prices. Looks to me like the government saw the money these “criminals” were making and decided they should take it for themselves. This really demonstrates to me that the only distinction that makes someone a “criminal” is who’ making the laws. Now it’s like “Sure, you can smoke, if you pay me.”
And don’t even get me started on what they are trying to do to medicinal consumers in recreationalized markets.
My point is, it’s all being done with a crass and blatant disregard for the welfare and rights of individuals. What we really need is proper education about the cannabis plant instead of more propaganda, and for the government to admit they were wrong, the biggest obstacle, but they’ll never do that. The whole rationale for the restrictions is based on the factual distortions of these past 80 years. I equate the right to consume cannabis with freedom, and restrictions are not freedom, especially when they are based on lies. It’s time somebody stood up to these people because they have been bullying us for years.
By BONG. JAMES BONG