Legalization of Marijuana? This has become a serious matter in our country and it is time for Idaho to start thinking clearly about the pros and cons of making this drug available to the public both for recreational and medicinal purposes. We as a publication have been advocates of the legalization of medicinal CBD oil but not marijuana and there are a number of reasons for that position.
Historically, if we go back to 1937 before the government began to tax marijuana, there were many marijuana compounds that were sold over the counter without prescription by the pharmaceutical companies. In fact, the AMA was angered with the tax the government levied on marijuana and proposed instead that cannabis be added to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Unfortunately, powerful captains of industry at the time, William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, and the DuPont family, had major investments in the forest products and chemical industries, and a rise of hemp would have seemingly undercut their profits.
As usual, everything comes back down to money and who will get it. It was the government under pressure from these two industries that hemp and marijuana became dangerous to your health and needed to be outlawed when in reality it was the rich and powerful who were the ones who feared the rise of hemp and marijuana.
What many don’t realize is the marijuana of 1937 was quite different than the powerful strains that are being grown today. Back in the nineteen hundreds, the content of the psychotropic chemical THC in marijuana used to be 3 to 5%, however; that has all changed and now the THC content can be as high as 99%. The government has allowed only limited testing of marijuana for medicinal purposes since 1937 yet the Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent granted in 2003 on cannabis plant compounds. While the government professes that the drug has no value medicinally, it continues to hold this patent. Is there anyone who doesn’t think there is a certain amount of hypocrisy in these facts?
The government is allowed to file and obtain patents, which has no bearing on the Controlled Substances Act, but it does indicate what could result if cannabis were rescheduled as we would likely see an explosion of marijuana-related patents. Like patent lawyers, the research arm of the HHS and the New York biopharmaceutical firms are working as an exclusive licensee under the patent. Interesting that big pharma tells us consistently that cannabis is of no medicinal value yet they would love to study and use it to further their storehouse of costly drugs used by many Americans.
Friends, the truth is that everyone is chasing the windfall of money that would be available if marijuana should become legal. Our own Senator Crapo is at this moment formulating a bill as head of the senate banking committee that would allow the banks to accept funds from companies selling marijuana. Currently, marijuana producers have few if any places to put their money as banks are prohibited from dealing with them. So what happens if this bill passes and becomes law? The banks will see an enormous inflow of cash from these companies creating a whole new business laden with cash looking for a place to go. Once they have a banking relationship it will only be a matter of time before companies in tobacco, pharma, and chemicals will buy up the small companies growing the stuff and build an entire industry around it. They will all get rich and the bankers will make a fortune handling their hundreds of millions of dollars in monetary transactions. So while our children will grow up in a world where they can buy marijuana at the local candy store like a chocolate bar, the big companies will be targeting them as future consumers creating a whole cadre of users hooked on this gateway drug.
The bigger question is what happens to the cartels that currently are the kingpins of the marijuana trade? Well once it becomes legal, they will find ways to open legitimate business giving them access to put their money into the banks and launder their money just like you clean your dirty sox. Keep in mind that the cartels have been doing this for years and have consistently been able to stay the low-cost producers of marijuana with low-cost labor and because of the taxes imposed in most states. They will still sell this garbage to our children and reap billions of dollars off the black market while we will suffer the social and medical problems associated with the use of this drug. We will have to deal with everything from more deaths from impaired drivers to children getting sick and dying from eating foods containing this powerful drug. We do not know what the full impact of how this drug will affect us as a nation if it is legalized. What we do know from some of the experiences in Denver, Colorado, and other states that have legalized marijuana is that the cost can be pretty high in the addiction of our young with increased health problems and deaths.
The libertarian side of me says ok, let’s give this a try but the conservative side of me asks the question, what will be the consequences if we allow this drug to be legalized? I have been personally affected by this drug when my nephew got hooked at age 18 and could not get off it. He wound up dying at age 46 with few if any of his mental faculties intact. He was an aspiring baseball pitcher who might have gone on to do great things but this was all stolen from him by someone giving him a joint and telling him it’s ok and won’t hurt you. People should have the right to choose their own fate but there is no way to protect our children from getting their hands on this drug if it is legalized.
Heck, they already have access from the cartels who sell this crap on the streets. We should move very slowly on this matter and give it a lot of deep consideration as to how it will ultimately affect our children and our country. We need to put some roadblocks on the path we currently are traveling to slow this process down and one of the first things we can do is to stop Senator Crapo from passing this bill allowing the industry to use banks. The second thing we can do is to stop any referendum on legalizing this drug in Idaho. Governor Little has said he is against the legalization of marijuana but then he was once against Medicaid Expansion and guess what we now have Medicaid Expansion.
I have not changed my mind on Medicinal CBD oil which has little or no THC in it but in many cases helps ease the pain of those with serious medical problems. We should allow this to be distributed in our state with a proper prescription. Much like Medicaid Expansion, it’s easy to legalize this addictive substance but it will be much more difficult to reverse the action and make it illegal and take it away from those who are addicted. We need to take the road less traveled when it comes to concern about our children’s future by stopping Senator Crapo’s bill before it sees the light of day and keep any referendum from passing in Idaho that would allow legalized distribution of this drug.