North Carolina Senate Passes Extensive Medical Cannabis Bill
by Bethan Rose
Cannabis is all the buzz around the water cooler at the office these days. People are starting to talk openly about hemp, CBD, as well as medical and recreational cannabis these days. It used to be the mention of this at work could result in random drug testing and/or termination. Thankfully, times have changed for most of us in America. Sadly, a few states still hold on to the old ways of yesteryear, clinging to prohibition like a rabid dog with lockjaw on a piece of meat. Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina, and Kansas are a few of those sad states that don’t enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of America. It is time to let go of the past and end cannabis prohibition.
Not only is it time to end it, but it’s also time to allow it. Saying that cannabis is ‘decriminalized’ is just confusing. You mean I can have it, but then again, maybe I can’t. Or I can have it but be prepared to pay a fine for having it. That seems like an old mob tactic. If you don’t want bad things to happen to you, then you better be prepared to pay when the man comes around.
Many states have legalized cannabis. Some have medical access to cannabis only and some offer both a medical and retail market for consumers over the age of 21. They almost all have different laws that create great confusion for many people. Some allow reciprocity, while others do not. Some allow for cultivation, some do not, and so on and so forth.
Recently, a couple was in a federal park for a hike when they ran into a BLM Agent. The agent found cannabis and paraphernalia, and a ticket and a court appearance were issued. Though the hikers had valid Arizona medical cards, the fact that they were on a federal property led to the couple being charged. The charges were offered to be dropped if half of the fines were paid, but the hikers decided to take this one to trial. This is an area where green and grey merge.
Recently, I was camping in the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. I had a run-in with forest agents, and they got a whiff of my cannabis. Long story short, they ended up giving me a ticket for something else. They told me I was on federal property and that cannabis is still against the law, but in the end, they let me keep my product—same situation as the hikers with med cards, but different outcomes.
While the nation is clouded in confusion about the legality of cannabis, our nation’s capital seems to be caught in the smokescreen of confusion too. Cannabis has been decriminalized in Washington D.C., but there is no place to purchase it legally. Perhaps that is why an ounce of the herb on Capitol Hill can set you back as much as $600 or more. You can’t buy it or sell it, but you are allowed to have it? Let’s take a closer look at what happens when the illicit black market comes into the grey.
When the illicit cannabis market starts to step into the light of legalization but has no regulations supporting legal sales, it creates a grey area. By a grey area, I mean an area of questionable legality surrounding cannabis. In our nation’s capital Washington D.C., you are allowed to have cannabis in your possession. However, you are not allowed to buy it or sell. It is also technically still against the law federally to transport it across states, so you can’t legally bring product into the District from somewhere else.
So, how exactly do you get cannabis in Washington D.C. if you can’t buy it? D.C. happens to have a bustling gifting culture when it comes to cannabis. You don’t buy it outright, but you buy something else and receive a free cannabis product as a gift along with it. For instance, say if you purchase a $600 pair of socks, you’ll receive an ounce of a cannabis product with it whereas a $300 pair will only get you a half-ounce. This is a loophole that is intended to protect both parties.
Another popular way of getting cannabis in D.C. is by getting it via donation. You might find a grower who is excellent at what they do. They’ll gift you an ounce of top-shelf flower. In return, you donate $600 to said grower to help cover the expense of cultivation and curing said cannabis. These areas regarding cannabis laws in D.C. leave a lot of room for confusion and mistakes. Thus, creating a grey area for cannabis in this lucrative green market.
America has reached a point in its growth where the proof is in the pudding that the War on Drugs was and still is a failure. It’s time to stop destroying lives with outdated laws. Legal markets need to be clear, and the rules should have general applications for all American citizens.
There is no need to keep this green market grey with questionable legalities. Legalize, update, and regulate outdated cannabis laws so the future can be a green one instead of remaining grey and covered in a smokescreen of uncertainty and confusion.
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