Medicinal cannabis here to stay. What next?

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

I agree wholeheartedly with President Donald Trump. The disposition of recreational marijuana should be decided at the state level. Read the 10th Amendment!

A little more than a year ago, I spoke with then-Kentucky State Representative, Travis Brenda about why he opposed legalizing medicinal marijuana. His comments reflected sincere concern. Yet they sounded like they have been prepared by former Education Secretary Bill Bennett.

There is a haunting misnomer that marijuana is and has always been a “gateway drug.”  It is. But in a different way than most perceive.

In the states that have not already legalized cannabis, one must go through the black market. As expected, the black market is what it implies: A source whereby illegal substances may be procured. As in, anything goes!

People trying to buy marijuana through such a source can generally find other “controlled substances,” ranging from meth, heroin and cocaine, to name a few. A black-market source can often place a seeker in touch with the requested supplier.

Take marijuana away from this black-market source and the distribution channel is altered. In the seventies, they referred to this guy as a “stash sharer.” He would buy a pound of pot, sell off three-fourths, keeping the remaining quarter for himself. The result: His weed was free!

With legalization, the “stash sharer” is all but eliminated. Given the option, most users will opt to buy their smoke at dispensaries. Those too poor or too cheap to buy it from a dispensary grow it themselves. You might say that the “stash sharer” has become an anachronism in states that have legalized recreational cannabis.

Medicinal is legal in several states and counting. And for good reason! It’s a proven remedy for nausea. Not to mention migraines, backaches, glaucoma and even excess stress. What a lot of people don’t know is that it’s been used medicinally for ages! In fact, marijuana in general wasn’t criminalized until 1937.

So, what’s the issue with those still opposed to legalizing medicinal cannabis? Actually, it’s pretty simple: “They seek to not bite the hand that feeds them!”

Show me a politician who opposes medicinal cannabis legalization but accepts campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies and I will show you corruption. There is simply no other way to express it.

A close friend who recently had stomach surgery complained that ONLY cannabis brought relief to the accompanying nausea. But when he tried to find it, he quickly learned that his state, Tennessee didn’t allow it. The guy was a securities dealer. as straight as an arrow and as vanilla as Mister Rogers!

What did he do?  His secretary hooked him up on the black market. My friend didn’t want to go that route and almost didn’t. In Tennessee, possession of marijuana is a felony. A securities dealer will lose their license if convicted of a felony! Nevertheless, apprehension eventually gave way to his nausea. He admittedly resented being presented with such a quandary. As he confessed, “I am not pot smoker! I hardly drink! But damn it! It brings relief like nothing else” (The doctor had previously prescribed a number of different drugs. None had brought relief).

“Anyone who opposes legalization of medicinal cannabis,” my friend added, “is either dogmatic, sadistic, corrupt or all three!” His doctor concurred.

Sadly for this gentleman and countless others, there are those “sadist-dogmatists” who exist! Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was typical.

I agree with former President Trump in that the decision to legalize recreational marijuana should be left up to the states. However, the decision to make medicinal cannabis legal in all 50 states, as well as decriminalization should be done and done post haste!

Nancy Pelosi has already gotten the latter passed in the House and has no Senate opposition. Legalizing medicinal cannabis use in all 50 states would be as easy as taking the vote. Why they haven’t done it is a mystery! Could it be political?

We know that Democrats were concerned that former Colorado Senator Corey Gardner favored it and might have used passage to hang on to his Senate seat in 2020. A surprising number of Republican senators favored it then and now. They would have voted in favor of passage.

Had he been president, Trump would have signed off on it. I cannot imagine Joe Biden vetoing such legislation.

On second thought, maybe Biden harbors secret inclinations to maintain the status quo. After all, his 1996 crime bill damned thousands of young, mostly black men to prison for possession of marijuana!

As California’s attorney general, Vice President Kamala Harris sent hundreds of young, mostly black and Hispanic men to prison for the same offense.

History speaks for itself.


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