We spend moments inside our heads marking time. We think, reflect, organize, remember, prepare. Stargazers tilted back their heads en masse and looked toward the heavens to see the Perseid meteor shower earlier this month. Football fans who have marked the days since the Broncs hoisted the Lombardi Trophy can ramp up again as the heroes of fall return to Dove Valley for training camp. Lovers of the Canada Goose know that their honking return will arrive as September rolls around. And anybody who has given their heart to Mary Jane knows that this time, right now, today, is a Golden Age for us.
We can look to November 5, 1996, the day of the passage of California’s Proposition 215, the referendum that created the United States’ first medical marijuana program. Alaska, Oregon and Washington followed suit in 1998, Maine in ’99, and Colorado and Nevada joined the ranks as the millennium turned. In October 2003, the United States Department of Health and Human Services was granted patent No. 6,630,507 for “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” Now we’re getting somewhere, huh? The expansion of medical marijuana programs has now grown to include 25 states with full programs and an additional 16 with CBD-specific programs. Several (at least three and possibly up to five) states will vote in this fall’s election to decide on medical programs.
The 2010s might rightly be called the Era of Recreational Legalization – Washington and Colorado in 2012, Alaska and Oregon in 2014, and this November, Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada residents will vote on ballot initiatives to enact recreational programs. Washington, D.C., also (kinda sorta) allows for legal recreational use (but we don’t have time to get into that right now).
But it’s not all good news all the time. The DEA denied three petitions to reschedule cannabis from Schedule I (no accepted medical use/high potential for abuse) just last week, but even that bad news is not all bad news.
The public reaction has been – let’s call it – less than favorable. In this age of rapidly-transmitted information and widely-ranging sources, the usual cannabis advocates have had a field day pointing out the wide margin by which that decision diverges from the perception of today’s American public and the mounting scientific evidence that says otherwise. But it hasn’t only been stereotypical marijuana supporters who have recognized the ridiculous position taken by the feds.
News anchor Shepard Smith took a potshot at the DEA from in front of the Fox News cameras, of all places, pointing out the absurdity of classifying “LSD, MDMA and a plant that grows in the yard – all one thing.”
More good news: on Aug. 16, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, in light of a 2014 Congressional decision to defund Department of Justice prosecutions involving defendants who have not broken the laws of their state’s medical marijuana programs, the cases of 10 individuals from California and Washington will be sent back to lower courts to be reviewed and possibly dismissed. Big things are afoot.
There’s not much to overthink here; the porridge is in the pot and the pot will get you high, high, hiiiiiiigh. My advice: run down to the Weede Shoppe and grab an eighth of your favorite, light it up, pause for a moment, breathe in deeply, breathe it all in – this time, this place, this rising culture; exhale, repeat.
Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at [email protected]