My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

As we begin this new year, which looks wonderfully promising for the adoption of marijuana legalization by more and more states, we need to begin to focus on some of the more subtle areas of legalization policy. We must insist that these new laws do more than stop the arrest of smokers; we must insist that they treat marijuana smokers fairly.

Here are my resolutions for the New Year.

1. We must double-back to those states that have legalized marijuana, to fix the child custody and employment issues. This is essential as we continue to move towards a public policy that treats responsible marijuana smokers fairly.

No parent should be presumed to be an unfit parent simply because he/she smokes marijuana. Before challenging the parents’ right to maintain custody of their minor children, the state child welfare agency must be required to have evidence of actual child abuse or neglect, not the mere us of marijuana, regardless of marijuana’s legal status in a state.

These child custody cases continue to arise far too frequently, and in most states today, the child welfare agency unfairly treats all marijuana-smoking parents as if their use of marijuana were presumptive evidence they are unfit parents. If a nosy neighbor complains about the smell of marijuana smoke, for example, the parents are required to have a humiliating home inspection (the presumption being that marijuana smokers are likely to have a filthy house, unfit for children); and to take (and pay for) essentially useless parenting and drug education courses; and to promise never to smoke marijuana in front of the minor children.

It is past time for the child welfare agencies throughout the country to ignore the use of marijuana by parents of minor children, unless there is evidence of abuse or neglect.

And the same is true for an individual marijuana smoker’s employment rights. No employer should be allowed to fire an employee for testing positive for THC, without a showing that the individual came to work in an impaired condition.

Marijuana smoking causes a degree of impairment for approximately 90-minutes after use, but today an employee can be fired for having THC in their system, even if they smoked the marijuana days earlier. And it happens to thousands of marijuana smokers each year, people who are good, hard-working, talented workers, who would never show-up for work in an impaired condition.

This is clearly unfair job discrimination against those who smoke marijuana, by any rational definition of discrimination. It’s time for legislation to fix this problem in all states, but especially in those that have legalized medical or recreational use.

2. Let’s find a way to legalize marijuana lounges in the states that have legalized marijuana smoking. Marijuana smoking is a social activity, and there is absolutely no valid reason to deny marijuana smokers the right to congregate and enjoy their favorite herb in a social setting. We should not be limited only to smoking in our homes.

During 2015, an effort to license certain bars in Denver, CO, to permit marijuana smoking in areas where tobacco smoking is permitted, was circulated as a municipal voter initiative, before being mysteriously withdrawn by the sponsors only a day before it was to be certified for the ballot. No public explanation was ever provided for the strange turn of events, but it is now time for supporters to renew the effort for marijuana lounges, in Denver and in the other states that have legalized marijuana.

Only Alaska has begun to move in the direction of allowing marijuana smoking in venues outside the home. In late 2015, Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board changed the definition of the term “in public” to allow marijuana use at certain marijuana retail stores (which are not yet up and running, but should be shortly). The board also voted to table a proposal to ban marijuana clubs in the state, and if this initial step to allow smoking in retail marijuana stores works as intended, marijuana lounges would seem like the next logical step.

As this trend moves forward, we need to decide whether we prefer marijuana-only lounges, or marijuana smoking to be permitted at selected bars. It would be instructive if different jurisdictions tried different models, providing us some guidance as we move forward.

3. Let’s win full legalization this year in states that are NOT on the west coast, including the possibility of Maine, MA, and MI.

Marijuana legalization is a policy that makes sense for smokers and non-smokers alike, and it should not be limited only to specific sections of the country. But the reality is most progressive trends in this country start on the west coast, then surface on the east coast, before being accepted in the Midwest, and finally in the south.

True to form, to date, our full-legalization victories have all come in west coast states. Now it is time to make our mark in the east. The Midwest and the south are important, but legal change in those states will generally take longer. They are next, and will benefit from any victories we achieve this year on the east coast.

Winning legalization in at least a couple of east coast states by voter initiative in 2016 must be a high priority.

4. Let’s find a way to pass a full legalization bill through a state legislature; it’s important in the 26 states that do not offer a voter initiative. The first state is always the most difficult, and a legislative win would embolden supportive state legislators all across the country.

We all understand that most elected officials are cautious when it comes to supporting potentially controversial issues, fearing taking a stand might cost them votes at the next election. That is why the marijuana legalization movement has initially focused on moving forward in states that offer a voter initiative to get around a balky state legislature.

But only 24 states offer that option, which means we are unable to move legalization forward in half the country, until we can gather majority support in a state’s legislature.

We are getting closer; eight states considered full legalization via their legislatures during 2015, but none have yet succeeded. Let’s make a special effort to win in one of these states during 2016, opening up the possibility of full legalization in the rest of the country.

5. Let’s encourage more mainstream, middle-class marijuana smokers to come out of the closet, to overcome the remaining negative stereotypes many of our friends and neighbors still hold.

I am frequently reminded that many non-smoking Americans (approximately 86% of the population) continue to have a negative impression of recreational marijuana smokers, the result of decades of “reefer madness” propaganda from the federal government. In a 2015 national poll by Third Way, a DC think-tank, while a majority of the respondents nationwide supported full marijuana legalization, when asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable impression of recreational marijuana smokers, only 36% viewed smokers favorably; 54% held an unfavorable impression of smokers.

Apparently the “stoner stupid” stereotype, which we smokers have largely learned to laugh at, has nonetheless had an impact on the attitudes of far too many non-smokers.

The best and quickest way to overcome that negative impression is for more mainstream marijuana smokers to come out of the closet and demonstrate that responsible marijuana smokers are just ordinary Americans, who work hard, raise families, pay taxes, and contribute to their communities in a positive fashion; but who prefer to smoke a joint when they relax at the end of the day, just as tens of millions of Americans enjoy a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day. So if you are a marijuana smoker, and you are still in the closet, it’s time to consider “coming out” to your friends and neighbors and co-workers.

We must overcome those remaining stereotypes if we are serious about treating responsible marijuana smokers fairly in this country.

6. And finally, let’s get the banking and 280E issues fixed under federal law, so legal marijuana businesses can operate as other legal businesses do.

Currently provisions in federal law intended to criminalize money laundering and other nefarious activities make it impossible for state-compliant legal marijuana businesses to operate in a responsible manner. They cannot have a bank account; cannot accept credit cards; and cannot deduct many business-related expenses from their income, when reporting their federal income taxes.

No one with a wit of intelligence believes we should be requiring (or allowing) the multi-billion dollar legal marijuana industry to operate as a cash-only business. It encourages crime, corruption, underreporting of income, and is simply unfair to those businesses trying in good faith to operate in full compliance with relevant state laws and regulations.

There are bills pending in Congress that would fix these problems, and it’s time those proposals were enacted into law by Congress. NORML is a consumer lobby, and we will leave to the industry lobby the principal burden of moving these proposals forward. But it is in the best interests of consumers, as well as the industry, that the legal marijuana industry be regulated fairly, like other legal businesses.

32 thoughts

  1. Good points, as usual, Keith.

    I have a question…

    Context: Occupation Testing
    (specifically where it is unwarranted-
    not as in the doctor about to hit the ER,
    nor the driver that is about to get behind the wheel, etc.)

    Seeking work is severely hindered if one partakes,
    (at least in my line of work [IT]),
    and looking for work is particularly stressful-
    which is easily remedied with a few puffs.
    (and a few puffs is easily as cheap as a decent burger).

    for employers to only be able to test those whose work is compromised because of it,
    and not arbitrarily disqualify an applicant because of some sparse elements present in his urine.

    HYPOTHETICAL – Is there a way to spawn a national drug test,
    such that all law enforcement, judges, doctors, politicians, scientists, bums, EVERYONE
    takes a sudden drug test?

    The reasoning would be for ALL the partakers to be visible,
    and for the laws to be idealized for what is made clear-
    and not solely based on those who are brave enough, like NORML,
    to come forward and champion the way.

    We know there are many who partake, and yet, don’t need to worry about the law.
    Many cops partake (not sure of numbers I have only known half a dozen to, but even they indicated so).
    Stars don’t even bother hiding partaking cannabis, and often actual negatives, such as MDMA.

    AND YET, I
    the working man, is crushed by such a burden.

    Bill Clinton, Obama, and many other presidents and candidates had no life issues due to it.
    Many blindingly successful business people, industry defining titans, even, have touted it,
    (albeit, referenced in a safe ‘historical’ tone.)

    (for the record, I argue that Bernie Sanders is the way to go…
    Hillary is no better than a Republican, and none of them impress me BOTH with their CHARACTER, and their ELECTABILITY.)

    1. Ironically, Ben, the long term solution to getting rid of rampant drug testing kickbacks is by the marijuana industries providing kickbacks of their own, which will happen in earnest as more states legalize. The kickbacks for drug testing more often go directly to physicians, while Big Pharma pays off the politicians, so as consumers we need to vet our doctors and let them know we will vote with our feet. This may leave you at the doorstep of an herbalist, “natural healing” doctor, of which there are more of than you might think, plenty of whom can accept all kinds of insurance.
      In the long, long term, that is for permanent policy, were going to have to expose every politician invested and taking bribes from Big Pharma. As you suspect, Hillary and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz are in bed with Big Pharma, so you are correct that Sanders is our better choice.
      (Shultz is invested in Novo Nordisk, a Danish drug company worth about 85 billion who had a scandal a few years back involving their insulin drug victoza marketed for type II diabetes which was found to cause pancreatic cancer in humans and thyroid tumors in rats. Victoza is still on the market;
      With new evidence showing marijuana is a non toxic treatment that can restore homeostasis in diabetics [search “diabetes” here on this web page], its no wonder that Shultz went trolling the Sanders team to shut them out of the DNC database).

      So, in the short term Ben, have you thought of going to your local court house, registering a self employed business, buying some general liability and a decent server and doing some IT contracting? There is money from securities firms to car dealerships that pay good money to contractors… And if they piss test you can just tell them to find someone else to fix their problems. The enlightened marijuana community will just pass them by.

  2. Well put! Thank you, Keith.

    I’m hoping Pennsylvania legalizes industrial, medical and adult recreational in one fell swoop, considering it’s the right thing to do and the state’s budget is a financial cesspool. The state capital, Harrisburg, is overrun with scandal, i.e. state attorney general scandal, reverberations from the Sandusky scandal, porn email scandal that went all the way to a state supreme court justice to the AG’s office and AG herself.

  3. All of these proposals sound reasonable. I will redouble my efforts to get my local politicos on board. My prohibitionist governor will be gone in two years . . .

    Maybe the Dems will be voted back into power in the NM state houses . . . we’ll see what the future holds.

  4. Well said Keith. Although I was a little hesitant when you started spotlighting the east coast, (noting that you are from Boston), but deep down I know youre right that the east coast needs to be focused on so that states like Texas have a chance at real legalization, (none of this off season quasi-legalization bull).
    And thank you for keeping focus on all the children being separated from nonviolent parents who consume marijuana. As we watch horrifying cases like Shona Banda’s in Kansas and another case with a mother in Utah, we’re reminded of the most heinous aspects of the drug war when collusion between Departments of Health and Human Services, Child Protective Services, DA’s and law enforcement use children in cases as leverage against their own parents, forcing parents to sign away their rights in order to keep authorities from further terrorizing their children. Parents and children have to be brave during these times, dont surrender and dont bargain with the devil. Don’t sign anything.

    It immediately caught my attention that in DC, long before we were even thinking about the possibility of mj lounges, legalization was crafted to consume cannabis at home while neighbors could still call social services and have children taken into state custody. And so as predicted, the boogie man on the streets is no longer a drug dealer but only the social worker intended to provide public social services.

  5. As a result, with the legislative monentum of 2016 and Vermont, we need to organize local chapters to focus on the following laws in their local legislatures;

    1) make marijuana and US patent 6630507 for “cannabinoids as neuroproectants” owned by the Department of Health and Human Services OPEN SOURCE, so that we can end the hypocrisy of an agency that owns a patent for marijuana as medicine on one hand while taking children from parents who treat their illness with marijuana on the other, and that we never allow the government or any institution to
    own a synergetic crop or medicine as symbiotically nutritive to sustainable, peaceful human coexistence with our planet as cannabis ever again.

    2). Pass local legislation that brings special prosecutors into cases investigating police or social service misconduct, asset forfeiture without due process and end the collusion between local DA’s, law enforcement, and the private adoption and incarceration industries.

    3). End all federal grants to enforce archaic marijuana prohibition in private or public adoption agencies, Child Protective Service, law enforcement, and all departments of the Federal and local government, not just the DOJ.

    Until we do these three things the injustice and collusion of prohibition will remain like infections waiting for fear and negligence to feed on again.

    In short, rewrite the Controlled Substances Act into the Certified Services Act, so we can use revenue from fairly taxed marijuana to continue to educate agencies, legislators and judges and certify them for proper procedures respecting individual rights to nonviolent privacy and self medication, including recreation.

    Congratulations Keith and everyone at NORML.
    Welcome to the cannabis-based economy of 2016; the climax of our American Marijuana Tragedy.

  6. Part II (as we are limited to 2000 characters)

    The general purpose of the previously mentioned concept
    is to address what is, effectively, discrimincation-
    as ONLY those employed_in or seeking_work
    (in particular organizations) or in certain legal trouble are required to perform a urinalysis.

    I argue that this is an injustice.

  7. Regarding Point 5: “Let’s encourage more mainstream, middle-class marijuana smokers to come out of the closet”

    Are you recommending that people who live in prohibitionist states like Virginia do that? Seriously, I fear that one of my neighbors would alert the police if they had a clue that I occasionally use cannabis. The penalties are severe and the disruption to my family would be terrible. I would be very happy if only I could come out of the closet without possibly being sent to a private prison and having my belongings taken.

    I have, on several occasions, took the risk of contacting the political elite here but it seems they have no intention of changing the cannabis related laws here. Each time I dare make such a contact I wonder if I am sealing my fate because they may contact the police to check me out.

    It’s crazy!

    1. Your question is posed to Keith; but if I may butt in for a second, I would suggest that everybody has to determine their own level of risk, to the extent that your own ass is on the line when “coming out” in a prohibitionist environment, or when using and/or dealing in a prohibitionist environment. Some might deal in pounds,others in ounces, depending on the level of risk they are willing to take. Coming out is the same way: what’s is worth to you, in terms of risk? Just don’t be part of the problem, that’s my own view; take at least some miniscule risk for what you value.

    2. I got busted, so in effect I was ‘outed’.

      I found that people invariably assume you’re doing it all the time.

      I had my record ‘expunged’ for $40, but I found that it seems some employers can still see your bust, some can’t. I’m not sure what the difference is. You’re left in a quandary. Should I reveal the bust, which defeats the whole purpose of expungement; or should I not reveal it and risk being caught in a lie. There is no one ‘right’ answer. (It does appear to me that if you try to get a job with the VA, they’ll see the record of the bust. If you try to get a job at a private fitness center [or whatever such employment], they won’t see it.)

      I briefly talked to a cop outside my place of employment about an unrelated issue shortly after the bust, and the fellow who owns the company said to me upon returning inside, “I don’t care about that.”, obviously assuming the cop was there about my recent bust. In effect I ‘lucked out’, because he was tolerant. That’s the only thing anyone ever said to me about it.

      I learned great respect for the military at that job. However, some of the vets there were still fighting the battle of the 60’s. I could read their disdain in their body language. However, half of them were nicotine addicts and some of them developed those big sagging guts so characteristic of people who seem to want to tell me how to live. All of them were two-faced; no one ever even mentioned anything about the weed to me.

      I never had any problems from writing my representatives in government. I usually received a letter in response telling me why prohibition was still a good idea. More recently I’ve started ti receive more positive responses, including one from Senator Mikulski (D, MD).

  8. Another aspect:

    International Relations and Human Rights

    Mexico, our neighbor is plagued
    by worse violence than even America,
    due to OUR drug laws and OUR demands in international law.

    Here is another sad example,

    These expletive-laden individuals are WELL FUNDED
    because America has chosen to relinquish
    the management and income of the drug trade
    in favor of the foolishly touted, ‘war on drugs’,

    We owe it to the working class Americans!
    We owe it to the international community!

    Legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis.
    the government catches spare change with the DEA/COPS/etc.
    compared the HUGE MARKET SHARE which we funnel
    into the shadowy hands of the cartels!

    I, and millions of others, wish for our purchases to HELP our country, and the world,
    not allow some clown to get another gold AK-47.

    Legalize -> Gain Control -> Regulate -> Tax

  9. This year, let’s resolve to see this reformed definition of “marihuana” enacted at the federal level, then get it rescheduled:

    16. The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

    [Editor’s note: What a strange and oddly political definition for a botanical.

    Cannabis should be produced, tested, infused, marketed and sold by hundreds if not thousands of publicly traded (and privately held) companies in America and around the world. Competition and taxation aids cannabis consumers. To treat cannabis differently in commerce and law than, specifically, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and pharmaceuticals products (i.e., limit production only to individual consumers) will not effectively end prohibition, will limit consumer access and choice and generate no taxes for government.

    Cannabis products should be subject to the vicissitudes of the free market, regulatory concerns and legal system–not exempt from them in favor of an unworkable or unsustainable utopia.]

    1. @editor;
      Agreed, so long as we do not prohibit or patent the herb, just pass it, don’t harass it.

    2. “16. The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.” [Editor’s note: What a strange and oddly political definition for a botanical.]

      Hope Sanders can engineer a version of SB2237 which bypasses this hokum $mokum “definition” (along with the Schedule 1 dumdum) while simultaneously encouraging every American citizen to view VAPORIZATION as the new NORM to replace $ecret $acred $moking.

      #5 Out of the Closet doesn’t have to mean $ide $tream $moke which annoys a nosy neighbor who probably knows it contains monoxide. Junk the Joint. The other day I saw a cop with a Vape Pen (probably tobacco, but how could anyone tell, I couldn’t smell nuthin) so OutGo is progressing well, thangyu.

      #2 Vape Lounges are accordingly likely to be much EASIER to pass at first than toxic $moke ones I’d think. Another Incremental, which NORML is good at anyway.

      #1 Similarly the parent who Vapes is likely to be safer from persecution than a $moker… besides if the Big Thing is that the children won’t know, hey go for it.

    3. @editor
      Strange and oddly political is how to describe the existing definition of “marihuana”.

      [Editor’s note: 21 USC 802(d) (16) “defines the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.”

      The above ‘legal definition’ from federal govt is not so much inaccurate as much as absurd that ‘marijuana’ remains illegal at the federal level.

      For non legalese, Webster’s defines ‘marijuana’ as:

      : hemp
      : the dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp plant that yield THC and are smoked in cigarettes for their intoxicating effect

      Webster’s defines ‘cannabis’ as:

      any of the preparations (as marijuana or hashish) or chemicals (as THC) that are derived from the hemp and are psychoactive

      Webster’s defines ‘hemp’, in greater detail:

      Full Definition of hemp
      a : a tall widely cultivated Asian herb (Cannabis sativa of the family Cannabaceae, the hemp family) that has a tough bast fiber used especially for cordage and that is often separated into a tall loosely branched species (C. sativa) and a low-growing densely branched species (C. indica)
      b : the fiber of hemp
      c : a psychoactive drug (as marijuana or hashish) from hemp
      : a fiber (as jute) from a plant other than the true hemp; also : a plant yielding such fiber]

      1. @editor
        Great comment.

        As federal definitions go, it is clear that marihuana/marijuana is derived from Cannabis sativa L., while hemp is a type of Canabis sativa L. The reformed definition posted above specifies the type of derivation which is historically well known (often with antipathy), and could gain the support of parents and nonsmokers.

        Congress must be involved in either abolishing (less likely) or reforming (more likely) the existing definition. The other relevant agencies will be involved in rescheduling the definition, and a definition which is specific is more likely to be rescheduled. In the meantime, the reformed definition deschedules cannabis and augments the existing nonsmoking laws while the DEA gets its efforts redirected.

        Your earlier comment about corporate cannabis and the free market is not now in effect. The reformed definition just states that fact which was recently reaffirmed by the voters in Ohio. Corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution, but the People and the States are. It is their constitutional rights that the reformed definition restores. The prohibition for the corporations is very limited, but once they understand the quantity of the lost profits from growing or selling Cannabis sativa L., maybe they will push for removing the second half of the reformed definition.

        We have similar goals, just different approaches.

        [Editor’s note: You favor de-penalization, which is what the law is in the District of Columbia and trying to pre-determine who can and can’t sell cannabis (i.e., anti-corporate). NORML favors legalization and the free market. The DC law is a half measure as adults who want to use cannabis have to grow their own or hope that someone will provide them their home grown for free. Most all renters, college students and non-gardners in DC are shut out of participating in the limited benefits of de-penalization.

        Cannabis consumers in DC have no genuine choice or access, growers and sellers have no outlet for their effort and the local government derives no taxes and has no regulatory oversight.

        From numerous surveys and focus groups performed by reform groups like NORML, DPA, ACLU and MPP consumers of cannabis do not care who sells them legal cannabis, as long as they have the same general access to variety and competitive pricing as the alcohol, tobacco and coffee markets enjoy.

        OH’s initiative failed for myriad reasons, most acutely from never having majority support pre-election and putting the ballot question on a off-off year election (which only attracts 30% of eligible voters, most of whom are older and more conservative, therefore far less inclined to vote for legalization of marijuana for the first time in the state’s history, especially when state officials rig the election by placing a counter measure on the ballot and misrepresent the initiative in media using taxpayer dollars; had the organizers held back for 2016, when over 70% of eligible voters will come to the polls, their inherently anti-competitive legalization measure may have passed).

        The DC City Council and mayor are not satisfied with the half measure of de-penalization and seek to pass legislation legalizing cannabis production and sales by incorporated businesses when politically possible while under the yoke of Congress (i.e., likely when the political stars re-align with a Democratically-controlled Congress).

      2. @Editor
        Beautiful reply. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You explained the situation in DC, and put the definition of “legal” or “decriminalized” cannabis/hemp/marijuana/marihuana in its place. I agree with NORML’s position for legalization over decriminalization, although we often find ourselves negotiating with the devil to get anything better than more prison and suffering.
        Good point about hemp being sativa L., although Ruderalis is another species of hemp. Indica is marijuana, no two buds about that. Its fascinating how here in the 21st century, 2016, our leading references, dictionaries and resources explain so little detail about the world’ most widely cultivated plant. I mean, it wasn’t until the hemp research amendment to the Farm Bill a few years back that the US government even acknowledged there was a difference between hemp and marijuana. Thats like not being able to legally recognize or regulate the difference between edible grapes and wine grapes. Is it THAT hard? Of course not, our incorrect legal definition for marijuana is an institutionalized misinformation for the profit of prohibition. We are still the only industrialized nation on the planet with a law (CSAct) in effect that does not make this distinction. Noted, how can prohibition be legally enforced for a definition that is literally written up in “smoke?”
        Are you committed to a dicriminalized definition of marijuana? Or would you support an open source free market definition that would support free-market legalization?

        Good point

      3. According to the reformed definition, if Cannabis sativa L. gets descheduled then sativa, indica, and ruderalis are too. Basically, descheduling is re-legalizing the plant. The States and localities will then set up their own regulations to deal with the different species and THC content while farmers benefit, small businesses benefit, medical patients benefit, entrepreneurs benefit, families and races of all colors benefit from re-legalizing the cannabis plant (call it what you will). At first, smokers and corporations benefit slightly less. Rescheduling will then provide even less restrictions depending on the timing of the new schedule. Anti-smoking laws have their place.

        Corporations get to be involved in auxiliary industries, but they must purchase, not grow, the raw material until they promote additional changes to the reformed definition. If corporations want to grow and sell cannabis, then they are the ones who will have to call for it. They originally wanted the plant prohibited (it was a gift to them that non-corporations were also subjected to the prohibition), so let them be the ones to explain why they want to undo it for their own purposes. Inevitably it will be about profit$.

        If the people call for, then defend the reformed definition, then maybe Big Money won’t so easily run over them. The political rallies show that people are tired of it.

        [Editor’s note: While you and Project SAM might choose to be anti-corporate in pro-corporate America, neither of you are based in political or economic reality (ever notice popularity amongst consumers for corporate-owned…WalMart, Costco, McDonalds, Amazon, Apple??).

        You maybe interested to know that sans corporations arguably there would be no cannabis law reform successes what so ever in America. Who do you think provided the tens of millions of dollars to reform cannabis laws circa 1996? It was largely from anti-prohibitionist billionaires who derived their great wealth from…corporations (George Soros, Peter Lewis, John Sperling, George Zimmer, etc…).

        Not too surprisingly the all important, lynchpin for national legalization in America initiative effort in CA in 2016 is being funded by individuals who are current or former principals of…wait for it…corporations (WeedMaps, Facebook, Mens Warehouse, Europe Through The Back Door, PayPal, Progressive Insurance, Quantum Fund, etc…).

        To be anti-corporate in America is in a left-handed way anti-cannabis law reform–ergo, no corporate-derived funding, no cannabis law reforms.

        Maybe in future you might want to consider establishing a non-profit organization called ‘anti-corporists for cannabis’ or what not (maybe you can do ‘joint’ events with Project SAM protesting mythical ‘Big Marijuana’). However, any realistic view of history, politics and economics regarding cannabis law reform envisages and very much welcomes the financial support from corporations and the people who own and/or manage them.]

      4. @Year,
        DAaaaaaamn… Your definition got BURNED like combusted SMOKE by the editor! Called out like Project SAM! What do you have to SAY for yourself? Are you quasi-prohibition disguised as Anti-corporate decriminalization?

  10. @ Miles,

    I definitely understand your conundrum. I’ve sometimes wondered if my phone calls to my legislators would come back and bite me . . .

    I do feel a bit less apprehensive than it seems you feel, in Virginia. The Sens and Reps that I’ve called here in NM are mostly Dems, tho I have contacted a couple of GOPers. I’ve never had the idea that they would call the local cops on me, but of course I don’t know.

    I suspect, here in NM at least, they’re more interested in dealers than part-time smokers. I’ll tell myself that anyway, because I do plan on making a few more phone calls this year.

  11. Hello, I have been so excited about S2237 introduced by Bernie Sanders in October but it’s a tightly kept secret. It’s called “The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act 2015”. It’s a beautifully written piece of legislation. But, no one is talking about it except to say it is DOA. I even wrote (with no success) to Rand Paul. The bill is so tightly in line with his ideology he could have written it. Just take marijuana off the list of illegal drugs. Not re-schedule, not re-define, not decriminalize, just removed from the list. It couldn’t be more beautifully simple. The bill passes regulation over to the states. I don’t expect miracles but this is a good start and will prepare the country for a Sanders presidency. I want it to skip committee and be voted on. This is a possibility if we make it clear we will accept nothing less. To keep marijuana as a schedule 1 is criminal negligence. Marijuana was used to treat epilepsy in Egyptian times! It was a key ingredient in 50% of the medications made at the turn of the 20th century. The law is based on a lie and people are dying because of it. I have to know, how do you feel about the bill S2237? Is this the bill you’re looking for? No one is talking about it and I need to know why. I’m genuinely baffled.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Interested parties can contact their members of the US Senate in support of S 2237, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, by visiting NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here:

  12. Keith,

    I’m pretty sure that if the employment issues of No.1 are solved then many more main stream, middle class referenced in No. 5 will “come out of the closet.” Good people will not go public regardless of their great job performance unless the threat of loss of livelihood goes away. That’s the bottom line.

  13. in the federal government’s national domain, the District of Columbia, set aside in the Constitution at the forming of the country to be the only geographic location where the federal government has original, full and plenary, complete jurisdiction (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, U.S. Constitution). Every provision in the Code of the District is federal law, and must be approved by Congress. It is an offense against the United States to violate a criminal provision of the Code of District of Columbia Arnstein v. United States, 54 App DC 199, 296 F 946 (1924). An arrest made by a federal or District of Columbia law enforcement official for a violation of U.S. Code or D.C. Code is a federal arrest. (U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons Program Statement 5880.33 Section 3.11, Definitions, federal arrest) The Legaization of Marijuana For Medical Purposes Act of 2010, enacted as federal law in the District of Columbia, decriminalizes the manufacture, possession and distribution of marijuana for medical use, now codified under District of Columbia Code, Title 7, Human Health Care and Safety, Chapter 16B, Legal Use of Marijuana, cited as Title 7 DDC 1671. The stated purpose of the federal law Title 7 DDC 1671 is: “All seriously ill individuals have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes when a licensed physician has found the use of marijuana to be medically necessary and has recommended the use of marijuana for the treatment (or to mitigate the side effect of other treatments such as chemotherapy, including the use of AZT, protease inhibitors, etc., radiotherapy, etc.) or diseases and conditions associated with HIV, glaucoma, muscle spasm, cancer and other serious or chronic illnesses for which the recommending physician believes that marijuana has demonstrated utility.” Therefore, marijuana is a federal medicine, and the government should be estopped from claiming it has no medicial value and remains a schedule 1 dangerous drug.

  14. There is less of a chance at a freak-out without drugs but there is virtually NO chance at ecstacy-bliss WO them either. Sure you could achieve bliss through spiritual pursuits but they either last seconds or it takes 30 years to achieve, unless you’re 6 years old. It wouldn’t take much to freak-out without drugs.

    Check out US PATENT # US 6630507 B1 on google. It’s the USA’s patent on Cannabis…

  15. For 2016 I propose the end to cannabis prohibition internationally so patients and their providers can stabilize homeostasis personally, instead of continuing the propagandized myth that one size fits all. It will aide in communications if it is socially accepted, personally experienced, and safe for all and not just the few.

    1. @Mark I:
      Agreed. This is why marijuana/cannabis/hemp/sativa/indica/ruderalis must be DEscheduled, not rescheduled, and US patent 6630507 must be made open source. Gotta watch the anti-corporate deschedule jargon too; another way to keep privatized prohibition, which clearly Americans don’t want either, even during a good election season. The best part about passing the climactic “tipping point” of marijuana legalization this year is that soon we can finally stop settling for anything better than prison and more suffering. And the subsequent Green Age of American Enlightenment… That will be pretty cool too.

  16. loud applause! ending prohibition for everyone, not a select few should be OUR COMMON GOAL.

  17. Note that Project SAM also say they disapprove of Big Tobacco! Well, is it finally obvious that Big Tobacco is the 700-mg rolltorch $igarette, Big Marijuana is the 500-mg (or 333-1/3-mg?) Joint or nicotine-infested Blunt, and the Final Solution for both is to get or Make a Screenedcrater Flexdrawtube One-Hitter providing MR Moderate Rational 25-mg $ingle Tokes.

    $0meone (I’m too timid) should get in touch with Project $am, see if they can get their milioionaires to co-fund a sea of One-Hit Workshops across Ameriwa… every child one-hit literate by age 11, immune for life against overdose.

  18. @Julian
    The Ship of State turns slowly, and while the reformed definition provides a quick return to re-legalized cannabis, it also provides a controlled re-entry to depenalized, decriminalized, and rescheduled cannabis smoking which will be effectively legalized, yet controlled, over some undetermined period of time. Plus, it shows more respect for our Constitution to have a clear and specific definition.

    Like Colorado which legalized marijuana then created restrictions on smoking marijuana, like the California AUMA which takes some time to allow small businesses to develop before their third tier of massive grows is allowed, like DC which has allowed cannabis to be freely enjoyed while they work with Congress to allow cannabis smoking in clubs, like the several States which have permitted CBD oils for medical uses but not marijuana, the reformed definition combines these ideas into a Necessary and Proper format for the federal reform of the definition of “marihuana” which respects the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

    You have many good points in your comments, but there is no need to be taunting. Thanks for asking, though. This debate with the editor was enlightening and much better than the Heads vs. Feds debate some years ago. Instead of challenging each other about the reality of cannabis, the discussion became more about the pushback of Corporations vs. People, which was the point of extending the definition. QED.

    Let it grow, and enjoy its benefits wisely.

  19. [Editor’s note: 21 USC 802(d) (16) “defines the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.” RIGHT SO MJ STALKS ARE LEGAL !!

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