There is no victory against your own people. That is the fundamental lesson that the federal government will need to learn one way or another in the near future. While some may see the recent actions of the DEA and the Department of Justice as a re-commitment to the senseless policy of marijuana prohibition, in the current context they play more like the grand empty threats of a desperate monarch on their final days. There is simply no path for success, no place where the prohibitionists could find more than a pyrrhic victory for their cause. Anyone who believes that the marijuana reform movement will ever back down has not been paying attention, and besides a wholesale disbandment, there really isn’t anything that would allow the federal agenda to continue as planned.
Earlier this month, the DEA responded to an almost decade-long request to reschedule marijuana with a ridiculous ruling that was even more outdated than the original petition. The decision is literally nothing but a list of bold-faced lies that nobody with even a passing interest in reality could swallow. The agency stated that marijuana should remain on Schedule I because:
1) Marijuana has a high potential for abuse.
2) Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. The drug is not accepted by qualified experts and the scientific evidence is not widely available.
3) Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
What a truly remarkable assortment of falsehoods. This ruling not only ignores mountains of scientific evidence about the benign nature of the plant, but also dismissed the entire medical marijuana community. To pretend that 16 states and the millions of patients who live there do not exist is definitely something only our government could pull off. The DEA even contradicts the Justice Department’s recent “clarification” memo, which called marijuana a “dangerous drug” and threatened growers and dispensaries but at least acknowledged that there are “individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen.” Amusingly, the government’s total disconnect from science was further highlighted only a few days later when a study was released showing that marijuana has no long-term negative effects on cognitive functions.
What is most interesting about all this is the decidedly rebellious reaction that the renewed push for prohibition has caused across all segments of America. Everywhere, the people (and sometimes even their representatives) are pushing back. Within days of the ruling, New Jersey’s Governor Christie announced that he would let his state’s medical marijuana program go forward despite never getting the government guarantees he wanted. Now there are rumblings in New York about following their neighbor’s example and passing a medical marijuana bill. Similar bills are also making their way through the legislatures of nine other states, and none of them have abandoned the effort over the federal declarations.
At a more local level the news has also been trumpeting defiance. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously for an ordinance that would allow most marijuana dispensaries to remain open by regulating them in a much less restrictive way than the recently passed state law. Around the same time, activists in Miami Beach presented the city with almost 10,000 signatures in support of a marijuana decriminalization ballot measure. And in Montana, faced with a legislature determined to kill medical marijuana, citizens have somewhat successfully challenged the constitutionality of the anti-marijuana law and have signed up over 1,500 volunteers for their effort to suspend the law and then eliminate it entirely at the 2012 ballot. The group, Patients for Reform — Not Repeal, claims to have gathered more than 2,000 signatures in just one week.
Businesses are also following their nose and betting on marijuana. Last month, Scotts-Miracle Gro made news when CEO Jim Hagedorn openly expressed a desire to directly target the medical marijuana market with their products. And Hagedorn isn’t the only millionaire businessman thinking about pot; Progressive Insurance CEO Peter Lewis has begun to work on getting a medical marijuana initiative onto the Ohio ballot. Those already in the marijuana industry are also confident about their growth; WeGrow, the so-called “Walmart of marijuana,” has announced that it sold out all of the franchise rights for stores in Arizona, New Mexico, Washington D.C. and Delaware. The company also plans to open 72 additional locations in California alone over the next half-decade and is laying the groundwork for a potential IPO. Even TV executives are vying for a piece of the cannabis pie; this fall The Discovery Channel will air Weed Wars, a reality show about a medical marijuana dispensary.
Congressman Jared Polis believes that it will take about half of the 50 states legalizing medical marijuana to force federal legalization; the Marijuana Policy Project sees a scenario where this is the case by 2014. The American people are working to make it so. We are all very tired of the lies, threats, and unjust punishments that the federal government has chosen to impose on its people all for the purpose of keeping a plant away from them. There is nowhere for the marijuana movement to go but forward and right over the inevitably hopeless attacks of our opponents.
Disclaimer: These opinions and statements made in these posts are solely the authors and do not necessarily represent the opinion of 420 Petition and its parent company.