Connect with us

All about Cannabis

5 Ways B.C. Decriminalization Could Work – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana



Others have given their five reasons why B.C.’s decriminalization of drugs is a terrible idea. While I’m sympathetic to some of these arguments, I’ve come up with five ways for how B.C. decriminalization could work.

It’s like cannabis legalization. Canada could have had a free and fair market that expunged past records and welcomed our world-renown “B.C. Bud” underground economy into the limelight.

Instead, the Trudeau government continued the large producer regime set up under Stephen Harper’s government. Legalization in Canada was about selling equity, not weed.

Cannabis legalization in Canada was about politicians and cops profiting off a plant they threw people in cages for. The same people who justified prohibition were now the “experts” telling us how to legalize it responsibly.

So, naturally, I am skeptical of “experts” telling me how great and successful B.C.’s decriminalization of drugs will be, especially when the intended goal is to get people into addiction rehabs and treatment centres.

But I am also appalled at so-called principled Canadians who have been excellent at opposing COVID lockdowns, vaccine passports, “Just Transitions,” and the growing surveillance state.

They see the hell-on-earth that is Vancouver‘s Downtown Eastside and make simplistic, Puritan arguments about drugs.

They sound like liberals on guns.

A vast majority of American gun owners are law-abiding and peaceful. But if you tune into the corporate press, they jump on every instance of gun violence as if regular gun owners are responsible.

Likewise, most drug users are peaceful and responsible. That includes users of opioids like fentanyl. But if you turn on the T.V., you’d think anyone who’s touched an opioid has gotten addicted and is at risk of dying on a Canadian street.

So let’s dispel these myths. Let’s list how B.C. decriminalization could work (without burdening the taxpayer or violating anyone’s property rights).

If I can demonstrate how this could work, and you still walk away thinking, “drugs are bad, mmkay?” even after checking out the footnotes, I politely ask you … WTF?

It’s annoying when liberals confidently spread their ignorance about guns. I ask you not to do the same thing with drugs.

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work #5: Avoiding Oregon’s Mistake

Oregon British Columbia Drug Decriminalization

A caveat: I don’t expect B.C. politicians to avoid Oregon’s mistake. I think they are making the same mistakes which will only fuel the fire of the anti-drug lobby.

So let’s examine: why didn’t it work in Oregon, and why has it worked in Portugal, Spain and Switzerland?

Why it Worked in Portugal:

 As we’ve covered before, Portugal decriminalized hard drugs like meth, cocaine, and heroin, but they also stepped up their enforcement, targeting large-scale dealers and operations. 

They also mandated treatment for addicts. Some suggest B.C. politicians should implement a similar policy for decriminalization to work. However, I am 100% against addiction treatment as it currently exists.

It’s not up to me or anybody else (certainly not the government) to determine whether your drug use is problematic. 

Portugal succeeded because they realized people were dying of tainted drugs. That’s the issue.

Why it Worked in Spain: 

Technically, the Spanish haven’t decriminalized drugs. But depending on the region, like Catalonia, they’re very open about it.

Spain has needle exchange programs, safe injection sites, and drug education programs. They even have cannabis social clubs, which are private non-profit organizations where members can meet to grow and consume cannabis. 

Why it Worked in Switzerland: 

Again, technically, the Swiss haven’t decriminalized. But like Spain or B.C. before January 31st, decriminalization is the unnamed de facto policy. 

They have a network of facilities where people can access clean needles, medication-assisted treatment, and other health services. The Swiss also have a heroin-assisted treatment program where patients with severe heroin dependency can access high-quality heroin under medical supervision.

Why it Hasn’t Worked in Oregon: 

With successful European examples, it’s obvious why Oregon has failed spectacularly (and why B.C. is posed to repeat the same mistakes).

  1. Not addressing the root causes of drug dependency, such as poverty, trauma, or the perceived benefit they derive from chronic use.
  2. Lack of safe supply

Because Orgeon didn’t meet these two conditions, their decriminalization of drugs hasn’t stopped the increase in drug overdoses.

Some critics also argue that Oregon hasn’t addressed the racial disparities in drug enforcement, which is likely the most damaging aspect of the drug war (and also one of the most profitable). This brings us to #4.

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work #4: End the Drug War

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work

Critics of B.C. decriminalization say it won’t work because police are losing tools to fight the drug war. But do these critics not realize that B.C. police lobbied for this?

Are police losing the ability to arrest people for simple possession of meth or heroin and put them before a criminal court? Yes, they are. But when was the last time the Vancouver or Victoria police departments did this?

Critics will argue that sometimes these “addicts” commit other crimes to support their drug habit. But that answers itself. It doesn’t matter if you’re violating property rights to support a drug habit, because you’re bored, or even to distribute goods among the poor.

Property rights are sacrosanct. Following this to its logical conclusion, what kind of country makes someone a criminal for simply possessing methamphetamine?

The war on drugs is a war on people.

(That said, I can see B.C. tribunals giving a free pass to property-violating drug users because they have a “mental health” issue that needs treatment, not imprisonment. Obviously, this is one surefire way to make sure B.C. decriminalization does not work). 

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work #3: One Step Closer to Legalization

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work

Critics say B.C.’s decriminalization will make it easier for drug dealers. And indeed, one of the consequences of Britain’s decriminalization of cannabis was a lot more dime-bags floating around the streets than Qs and Ps.

But this parallels with the point above: the war on drugs is a war on people. Drug dealers come in two types: your petty criminal looking to make a buck and your entrepreneur who genuinely loves drugs.

Cannabis legalization, in theory, was supposed to separate these two groups. Many expected legalization to welcome the entrepreneurs of B.C. Bud into the mainstream. But this was not to be. All cannabis activism was “organized crime” until further notice.

In the post-legalization environment, politicians and the corporate press have favoured the peaceful members of Canada’s “illicit” underground cannabis community. The language has evolved from combative to “how can we get these people licensed and paying taxes?”

We’re still a long way off from a free-and-fair cannabis market. Excise taxes, for example, still favour the big guys over the smaller producers.

And now we’re posed to make the same mistakes with other drugs? B.C. decriminalization could work if we:

a) don’t listen to liberals, 

b) don’t listen to conservatives.

We need a third approach, which brings us to the following:

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work #2: De-stigmatization

De-stigmatization is the stated goal of B.C.’s decriminalization of drugs. This refers to reducing or eliminating the negative societal and cultural perceptions and judgments associated with drug use.

I don’t have to remind you that drug use has long been stigmatized, with users often labelled immoral, sick, criminal, or deviant.

Even among cannabis connoisseurs, some of us have a drug-war belief that cannabis is a “soft” drug that’s safe to use, while heroin is a “hard” drug that should be avoided.

De-stigmatizing drugs means shifting the narrative from shame, guilt, and punishment to one that emphasizes… well, what, exactly?

If you talk to conservatives, de-stigmatization is precisely the problem of B.C.’s decriminalization. Drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth, or MDMA should be stigmatized. Like we’ve done with cigarettes or drinking and driving. 

Since they associate all drug use with problematic drug use, they see the stated goal of decriminalization as the problem. 

But liberals are also wrong about this. They think the stigma of drug use is the only reason addicts don’t seek help. They also associate all drug use with problematic drug use. Ergo, drug users need understanding, compassion, and treatment.

The result? Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is like declaring a place a “gun-free zone” and then getting shocked and angry when a mass shooting happens.

B.C. Decriminalization: How about a third option?

5 Ways B.C. Decriminalization Could Work

There is a third option. Where what I do with my body is my choice. Where what I do in the privacy of my home concerns no one else.

Drugs have legitimate medical and recreational uses. Drugs should not be automatically criminalized or marginalized.

Even a term like “harm reduction” contains drug war propaganda. When it comes to driving, do you wear a seat belt? Do you rotate your tires? Check your oil?

Do you consider this regular car maintenance or a “harm reduction” strategy?

Drugs are like extreme sports. They can be dangerous activities that not everyone enjoys. We need well-established rules and customs about these fun, hazardous activities.

Labelling drug users as criminals or having mental health issues obscures the reality that most drug use is non-problematic. Just like most gun use is non-violent.

The media focuses on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside because it’s a simple narrative. 

Like calling for gun control after a school shooting, people are having knee-jerk reactions to the growing number of drug overdoses.

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work #1: A Private, Safe Supply of Drugs 

How B.C. Decriminalization Could Work
Photo credit: Trey Patric Helten

When asked why he wouldn’t decriminalize cannabis while Canadians waited for legalization, Justin Trudeau said that “the fact of the matter” is decriminalization “actually gives a legal stream of income to criminal organizations.”

He called it a “bad idea.” In 2016 he told News 1130 that decriminalization “doesn’t do anything in terms of keeping the black market and the criminal organizations from profiting from it. That’s why I believe in control and regulation that actually will do the protection of public safety and of minors that we need.”

So why is that true for cannabis but not opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA?

Liberals, of course, have a solution: a taxpayer-funded safe supply. Just another way the drug war lines the pockets of large pharmaceutical companies.

Who do you think is supplying Methadone or Buprenorphine to these sites? We pay for it as taxpayers, and they profit from it. 

Conservatives have every reason to oppose safe-supply sites envisioned by “progressive” liberals. Why listen to those who can’t comprehend solutions that don’t involve the use of tax dollars?

Yes, There can be a Safe Supply of Drugs

Of course, some critics take it a step further. They don’t oppose taxpayer-funded safe supply sites. They oppose the very idea of a “safe” supply of drugs. Because opioids can cause respiratory depression, opioids are, by definition, unsafe.

I wonder how many of them extend the same logic to alcohol. Drinking a litre of Crown Royal in one sitting can kill you. Ergo, there is no safe amount of whiskey, right?

Why or why not? 

Why can’t we mimic the regulatory regimes of alcohol, cannabis or nicotine when it comes to opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA?

The B.C. Coroners Service has consistently reported that it is the toxicity of these drugs that is causing overdoses and deaths.

The problem is tainted drugs. That’s what Portugal understood and what Oregon ignored.

People are buying MDMA mixed with opioids. People are unknowingly ingesting large amounts of fentanyl. The solution? Legalize it so they can buy a regulated, labelled fentanyl or MDMA pill at the store as we do with cannabis or alcohol. 

B.C. Decriminalization? Drugs Are Bad, Mmmky.

I’ve provided five ways how B.C. decriminalization could work. Ultimately, the goal should be a private, legal supply.

That is, legalization.

Conservatives and liberals associate all drug use with problematic drug use. Conservatives want to keep the stigma attached because public shaming is a useful tool. Just ask unmasked Canadians how they felt going to the grocery store in 2020-21.

Liberals want to remove the stigma because drug use is a “mental health issue” requiring compassion and taxpayers forking money to government bureaucracies.

This third libertarian option is the only one that respects a person’s bodily autonomy and property rights. Liberals recognize part of this principle with abortion, and conservatives fully recognize this principle regarding guns or vaccine mandates.

I don’t need to tell you that people enjoy alcohol or cannabis while maintaining a productive and peaceful life. They go to work, support their families, and pay taxes. Opioids and amphetamines are no different.

Ironic that it’s the sober ones who are out of their minds. 

But What About Downtown Eastside Vancouver?

Okay, drug use is justified based on a fundamental principle that nobody should aggress against anyone else. If I’m using cannabis in my home, that’s my business. But if I’m stealing to support a cannabis habit, I’ve broken the law and am a criminal.

Am I more willing to break the law because I’m “addicted” to cannabis? Maybe not for cannabis. But people will argue with a straight face that heroin or cocaine are more “addictive” than cannabis.

There is no evidence to support this. “Addiction” is a social construct—a popular myth reinforced by bad science. 

The problem with Downtown Eastside isn’t drugs. It’s poverty, mental illness, trauma, and lack of support. It’s a complex problem requiring a variety of different, individual solutions.

Drugs are not the problem. Drugs are a pursuit of happiness for people who otherwise don’t have much joy in their lives. Singling out their drug use as the core problem is confusing cause and effect.

Homelessness, poverty, and violent crime are problems exacerbated by governments. Instead of owning up to their incompetence, they’re blaming drugs. But only useful idiots parrot drug war propaganda.

Please don’t be one of them. 

Source link

All about Cannabis

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




What are the five cannabis stories you might have missed? Nowadays, it’s impossible to keep up with cannabis news stories across the world. Whether it’s banking reform and rescheduling in the United States, legalization in Europe or Thailand, or Canada’s experiment with corporate legalization.

Here are five cannabis stories you might have missed.

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

Suing Over Cannabis Rescheduling

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

U.S. Attorney Matthew Zorn is suing the Biden Administration over cannabis rescheduling, particularly over the secrecy of it all. If you missed this cannabis story, here are the details.

Last month, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suggesting they reschedule cannabis.

Currently, the U.S. government lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, in the same category as heroin. The HHS letter suggests it should be a Schedule 3. Cannabis would still be a controlled substance but with fewer restrictions.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Zorn has filed an official complaint in the U.S. District Court. He says the letter “has become an item of public interest.” He has asked the court to force the Biden Administration to release “improperly held agency records.”

Zorn tried a Freedom of Information Act request but to no avail. HHS “has not produced the requested record” and “did not make a timely determination within 20 days,” the complaint alleges.

60% Higher Risk of Cardiovascular Problems Linked to “Cannabis Use Disorder”

Another day, another study finding an “association” between cannabis and something terrible. This time, it’s cardiovascular problems. You haven’t missed much if you missed this cannabis news story.

Here are some problems with the study:

Correlation is not Causation. Like most of these “cannabis is bad for you” studies, the researchers have merely made an association. Fortunately, this study explicitly states there is no causation. They simply found an association after controlling for variables. 

Confounding Variables. While the study adjusts for some variables, it says it cannot account for tobacco smoking due to data limitations. This is obviously a significant limitation.

Smoking cigarettes is a far more significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases than smoking cannabis.

Not being able to parse out this variable makes the study beyond useless. It’s literally disinformation. If you missed this cannabis news story, then you’re better off for it. 

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

Sampling Cannabis in British Columbia

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

You might have missed this cannabis story out of British Columbia, Canada.

After years of stigma and drug war propaganda, the British Columbia government is finally starting to loosen their cannabis rules and regulations.

Licensed producers can now provide samples for retailers. The Grow Up Conference and Expo was the first cannabis industry event to take advantage of the new rules.

Advocates say the new regulations will benefit the industry in several ways. Retailers will now be able to see the product they’re buying and sample it for their customers.

Unfortunately, retailers cannot provide samples to customers yet. But the industry is hopeful that it’s in the works. That’s undoubtedly a cannabis new story we wouldn’t want to miss.

Thailand To Reconsider Cannabis Decriminalization

You might have missed this vital cannabis news story: Thailand may re-criminalize cannabis.

Two years ago, Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis. But its government, led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, has vowed to roll back cannabis legalization.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York while attending the UN General Assembly, Srettah made clear that residents of the country will only be able to use cannabis for medical reasons.

“It’s just for medical reasons. We need to rewrite the law,” he said.

Current legislation has cannabis removed from a list of narcotics. Individuals are supposed to notify their local government if they want to cultivate plants at home. But so far, the government has not created any regulations regarding cultivation and sales. 

This regulatory vacuum has created a “free-for-all” industry much like the “wild-west” of British Columbia before Justin Trudeau’s corporate cannabis takeover.

While some estimated Thailand’s cannabis market may be worth nearly $2 billion, the new government ensures that money will remain in the black market.

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

SAFER Banking Almost a Reality

Five Cannabis Stories You Might Have Missed

We covered this one, but you might have missed this important cannabis news story.

Less than a week after being re-introduced, the SAFER Banking Act found approval by the Senate Banking Committee on September 27. The committee voted 14-9 to advance the legislation to the Senate floor.

The text of the new amendment is not yet available publicly. But give it enough time, and U.S. Attorney Matthew Zorn may sue to get the details released. 

But overall, thanks to this committee, the movement toward cannabis reform in the United States just got a shot in the arm.

Source link

Continue Reading

All about Cannabis

What is Vivek Ramaswamy’s Position on Cannabis? – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




What is Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis? “You don’t hear me talk about the war on drugs. I’m not a war on drugs person,” Ramaswamy said when he appeared at a Free State Project event in New Hampshire last June.

Vivek Ramaswamy is an American entrepreneur seeking the Republican nomination to run for President of the United States.

Ramaswamy told the crowd he was “probably the only person in the modern history” of the Republican Party to talk about decriminalizing drugs for people with PTSD and other mental health problems.

Psychedelics,” he said specifically. “From ayahuasca to ketamine… That’s gotta be part of the solution.”

But what is Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis? He told Fox News:

We got to catch up with the times. It’s not a popular position in the Republican Party, but I’d just, again, I guess I’m going to speak the truth. Whether you vote for me or not is your choice. I think the time has come to decriminalize it.

Later, a spokesperson from his campaign said:

The current state-level ‘legalization‘ farce contributes to the culture of lawbreaking. It’s literally against the law. For us to pretend otherwise only undermines the rule of law in this country. For that reason, Vivek favors the federal legalization of marijuana.

What is Vivek Ramaswamy’s Position on Cannabis?

Vivek Ramaswamy's Position on Cannabis

What is Vivek Ramaswamy’s Position on Cannabis? Decriminalization or legalization? Once upon a time, those meant the same thing. And indeed, in America, this may still ring true.

Vivek isn’t shy about wanting to rule by executive fiat. Suppose he’s the next U.S. President and unilaterally deschedules cannabis. Not a rescheduling, a complete descheduling.

As far as the federal government is concerned – cannabis is not its business.

Is that decriminalization or legalization? For operators in legal states, it certainly helps their tax situation. And why would the financial system fear a plant the government has delisted as a controlled substance?

Is that legalization or decriminalization? Or are those terms synonymous?

If a Ramaswamy Administration removed cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, there would be a few implications.

Implications of De-Scheduling Cannabis

Opinion: Why did Cronos delay their year end filing?

Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis could empower state-level regulations. If the federal government takes a literal hands-off approach, you could argue that’s not legalization.

But is legalization ideal? Should Washington D.C. force states like Idaho to legalize? Suppose people in Idaho want to consume cannabis legally. There are 23 other states they can move to, including next-door neighbors.

Even if all 50 states legalized – isn’t it better to have local regulation of a competitive and complex modern industry? Think of the supply chain: cultivation, production, packaging, distribution, sales, marketing, and everything in between.

Do you want D.C. bureaucrats in charge of all that? Isn’t that how lobbyists capture the process and rig the rules against the little guys?

When The Feds Do Get Involved

Of course, some will argue Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis can’t be entirely hands-off. Somebody is going to have to regulate interstate commerce and international trade.

Imports and exports are federal jurisdiction and always have been. Of course, Vivek’s brand of governing may detest interstate regulation. A Ramaswamy Administration may create a free-for-all for all industries, not only cannabis.

One can hope.

And, of course, FDA bureaucrats will want to control aspects of cannabis, especially if it’s used in food products or marketed as a medical treatment. In a sense, descheduling and taking a hands-off approach empowers the existing bureaucracy.

But Vivek can use the stroke of the Presidential pen and tell the FDA to buzz off. Such is the state of the American “republic.”

Of course, if Vivek Ramaswamy becomes President, he won’t be able to decline the tax revenue. Who can, really? Except for maybe Ron Paul.

So, the federal government may tax cannabis. And so Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis matters a great deal. 

But there’s something else. And it involves Vivek’s policy on the Federal Reserve Bank.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Position on Cannabis & Money Could Change the World 

Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis and money could change the world. And here’s how.

Experts must control money. That’s what the experts say. That’s why supply and demand don’t determine interest rates. You can’t trust free markets, they say. You need a central planning committee of experts.

But when the hell has that ever worked? This is not the 1920s, this is the 2020s. We have evidence of central planning, and the results are far worse than any of the theoretical excesses of free-market capitalism.

But suppose the experts are right about one thing. The price of money is too volatile to leave to a truly random process. That there should be a more market-based approach to price stability.

As in, leave it to the experts, but not the boardroom suits. Leave it to the people who are actually buying and selling in the market on a daily basis.

Like Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis, his proposal for the Federal Reserve is a breath of fresh air—a novel idea in an age of corporate-state shallowness.

What is a Government Gold Standard?

Vivek Ramaswamy's Position on Cannabis

A country on a gold standard exchanges its currency for gold at a fixed rate, say, $35 an ounce. And vice versa. So, if the market price of gold goes beyond $35, people bring in their dollars to exchange for gold.

This process means the number of dollars in circulation decreases, so the value of the dollar increases. This continues until the market price of gold is back to $35.

If the market price drops below $35, the same process works in reverse. Historically common, it’s not without its flaws. Governments tinker with the mechanism like a curious 12-year-old who takes apart the television to see how it works (and ends up breaking it in the process).

A gold standard keeps the value of the money constant relative to the market price of gold. Economists have all kinds of critics and rebuttals as to why that wouldn’t work today in the “modern” economy.

To their credit, relying on gold as the sole commodity backing the government currency does run into problems. Especially when governments are always trying to cheat the system.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s position on cannabis stems from listening to the people and the real experts (i.e. not “public health”). He is responding with the correct answers. He has – more or less – done the same with the subject of the Federal Reserve and the money.

What is a Commodity Bundle Standard?

Vivek Ramaswamy's Position on Cannabis

Vivek Ramaswamy should combine his positions on money and cannabis. 

Vivek wants a commodity bundle standard to help solve the problem of using government currency. In this system, the market defines the U.S. Dollar as a collection of commodities. This collection or bundle is valued by what’s in it.

For example, suppose you had one million dollars. You take it to the bank and demand your bundle. It could consist of a few pounds of gold and silver, but it’d mostly be a claim on commodities (i.e. 100 pounds of grade A beef, 10 barrels of crude oil, 1,000 board feet of lumber).

Likewise, anyone who brings in a bundle (the claim on commodities) gets a million dollars. This keeps the bundle’s price at a million dollars and, thus, a stable purchasing power, assuming nobody is messing with the bundle.

Vivek Ramaswamy’s Position on Cannabis & Money Could Change the World 

Vivek Ramaswamy could combine his positions on money and cannabis by including 1,000 pounds of industrial hemp biomass and 500 grams of premium-grade cannabis flower in the commodity bundle.

Regarding “changing the world,” you’ll have to refer to some of our past posts on the subject

The main takeaway: eliminating the elite’s ability to create money out of thin air and charge interest on it can only be construed as a step in the right direction. 

In fact, it’s the first step. 

Source link

Continue Reading

All about Cannabis

Regulating Cannabis like Fish – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




Regulating cannabis like fish? Excuse me, what? According to Leah Heise, the cannabis industry can learn much from commercial fishing.

An accomplished cannabis exec, Leah’s been the CAO of Ascend Wellness Holdings, the CEO of Women Grow, CXO of 4Front Ventures and President of Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute.

While at Ascend, Leah focused on growing the business from 73 employees to more than 1300 in less than 18 months, taking the company from $19M in revenue in 2019 to a $1.6B market cap in 2021.

Leah is also a medical cannabis patient, having discovered the herb after being hospitalized over 35 times for pancreatitis.

Leah Heise is a cannabis expert. Her expertise is unparalleled, unlike the so-called “experts” in the media who spew drug war propaganda.

So when she says the cannabis industry has much to learn from commercial fisheries, our ears perk up.

Regulating cannabis like fish? Say what?

Regulating Cannabis from Stigma 

Regulating Cannabis like Fish
Leah Heise

Having experience in the regulatory landscape, Leah knows what’s working and what’s doomed to fail. And unfortunately, most legal states have been regulating cannabis from a position of stigma.

“We do everything by piecemeal, by litigation. It’s very costly to the system and there’s just a better, more streamlined way to do it,” says Leah. “And I think that potentially regulating it similar to a commercial fishing industry may be the way to do it.”

Of course, Leah points out that there are other options, and this is just one of many ideas. But, she says, “These regulators need to understand the things they are regulating.”

“They’re doing it from a place of stigma and lack of education,” Leah says. “We have to turn back one hundred years of stigma and propaganda.”

Whether it’s racial stigma or false beliefs that cannabis will rot your brain, Leah emphasizes education. From scientific papers proving cannabis’ efficacy to patient stories to studies that associate legal cannabis with fewer cases of domestic abuse and alcoholism.

“The industry and the plant need a rebrand,” says Leah. “It’s not Cheech and Chong. It’s everyone; it’s diverse. Anybody could be using this, from your great-grandmother to your child, depending on what they have. It’s not going to make their brains die or reduce IQ.”

Regulators Need Education

Simply put, the public (and many regulators) are uneducated on cannabis. Drug warriors amplify its alleged harms while marginalizing its medical and therapeutic benefits.

But how would regulating cannabis like fish help? Leah admits that if the feds get involved, a strong regulatory body needs to be created.

“Or just let the states do it,” she says. “We don’t necessarily need another layer on top.”

But suppose the federal government does step in and institute national cannabis regulations. What can we learn from the commercial fishing industry?

Regulating Cannabis like Fish

What can the cannabis industry learn from commercial fishing? How does one regulate cannabis like fish?

“Fisheries is a highly regulated industry,” says Leah. “Because the government’s trying to balance the interests of the environmental groups with the interest of the commercial fishing industry.”

Yes, they are separate products, but both are natural and come from the Earth. Likewise, generations of people work in the industry, whether it’s multiple generations of fishermen (and women). Or the legacy farmers in the cannabis industry (especially in black and brown communities).

With the commercial fishing industry, there’s the problem of overfishing. “In an effort to save the planet, and the fisheries themselves, the federal government has stepped in,” says Leah.

And she sees opportunities for the cannabis industry and its regulators to learn from the commercial fishing industry.

Commercial fishing regulators don’t regulate from a place of stigma. “I haven’t seen a single state,” says Leah, referring to legal cannabis states, “where there’s not a massive lawsuit. And even with Schedule III, there’s going to be lawsuits.”

Learning from the Commercial Fishing Industry

Leah prefers a more comprehensive way of regulating cannabis, which borrows from the successes of the commercial fishing industry.

“They design things called fishery management plans,” she says. “Scientists in the government will come forward and say, ‘okay we’re starting to see Atlantic sea scallops start to collapse. We’re seeing a decline in the number of new pollock. And we need to come up with a fishery management plan to work this.’”

Leah says the commercial fishing industry has councils with different stakeholders, from environmental groups to commercial industries to recreational groups.

“They come together to regulate themselves,” says Leah. “It speeds up the process and really eliminates a lot of the issues in terms of getting sued, because stakeholders at least feel like they have a voice.”

“Nobody walks away happy,” Leah adds. “Which is kind of what happens with any real decent negotation, right? Everybody’s giving a little.”

Leah thinks having a board of stakeholders would prevent things like canopy caps or taxing inside the supply chain. Things that ultimately hurt the industry and only empower illicit markets.

The problem, says Leah, is that current cannabis regulators “aren’t holistically looking to see what the impacts are,” of the various regulations they’ve instituted.

Regulating Cannabis like Fish – Unintended Consequences?

Regulating Cannabis like Fish

Is there any state already doing this? What are the odds D.C. will create cannabis regulations that embody the principles of the commercial fishing industry?

One of the biggest problems, says Leah, is the lack of money on the enforcement side. From her regulator days, Leah recalls:

We were handed often times very dense regulations to enforce. But we weren’t given the money that we needed to be given to it, to hire the people, and train the people we needed to actually enforce those regulations.

The result is cannabis operators openly flaunting the rules because paying the fines is sometimes cheaper than observing the regulations.

There’s also debate on how heavy cannabis regulations should be. Should we regulate it like alcohol? Or should we consider cannabis a vegetable no more dangerous than a carrot?

“I think that the polarization that exists in this industry exists in the country,” says Leah, so there’s no easy answer.

Unintended Consequences

Bill Gates & Justin Trudeau

But one thing to watch out for is the unintended consequences of regulation. Leah recalls visiting Africa, particularly Botswana, about a year ago.

“The Gates Foundation had contributed billions of dollars worth of mosquito nets,” Leah recalls.

They thought that giving people mosquito nets would eliminate malaria. But what they didn’t understand is that [the Bostwanans] needed food. So what the people did was they used the nets to fish with. But the nets were covered with pesticides. It killed off all the fish. And you still have malaria, and you have no food, and it’s because there wasn’t really a holistic decision in that instance. [The Gates Foundation] wasn’t informed enough to answer what the real primary need was.

Unintended consequences are an unavoidable fact of life. In Canada, for example, the government legalized cannabis from a position of stigma and propaganda. The result is a thriving black market catering to consumer demands the legal market can’t fulfil.

With that in mind, we asked Leah how likely, on a scale of one to ten, would the United States legalize and regulate according to rational and holistic principles? Will authorities regulate cannabis like fish?

If ten is the ideal and one is stigma and propaganda, what’s the verdict?

“I think it’s going to be less than 5,” says Leah. And like the situation in Canada or the more restricted US legal states, the consequences of regulating from stigma suggest a robust illicit market.

“You can decide to go the legal route or you can decide to go the illegal route,” says Leah. “But you’re not going to make it go away.”

Source link

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 The Art of MaryJane Media