Cannabis is still illegal federally in the United States. Incredibly, in 2019, it is officially a Schedule 1 narcotic: equated with heroin. It is deemed to have “no medical uses”, despite centuries of people having used it medicinally and decades of more recent empirical medical evidence.
U.S. politicians continue to spout absurd myths about the “dangers” of cannabis – that have already been debunked by real science. The mainstream media continues to peddle anti-cannabis pseudo-science.
Increasingly, the American people are simply ignoring this noise. And if state politicians haven’t gotten their act together and already legalized cannabis, Americans are either traveling to legalized states to purchase their weed or simply using the black market.
Cannabis is safe. It has now been shown to generate not only numerous health benefits but also benign “mood enhancement”. While alcohol and tobacco combine to kill more than ½ a million Americans each year, cannabis usage kills no one.
So residents of Idaho are driving to Oregon to buy their pot. Residents of New York are going to Massachusetts for legal cannabis. One-quarter of the visitors to Colorado between 2014 and 2018 cited “cannabis” as a reason for visiting the state.
Alone, these are more than enough reasons for the U.S. federal government to put an end to nearly a century of totally misguided cannabis Prohibition. But thinking rationally has never been a strong suit of the denizens of Congress.
A recent Forbes article takes a different approach. It argues that the U.S. government is forced to legalize cannabis because of the new problems it has created for itself.
Politicians are arguably the people most affected by the Law of Unintended Consequences. They take actions without thinking them through. Sadly, elected officials remain completely oblivious to this peril.
In this case, it was the devious decision by the Trump administration to legalize hemp (via the Farm Bill), while not ending cannabis’ Schedule 1 classification at the same time. The proud architect of that move was Senate leader Mitch McConnell, arguably the single biggest obstacle to cannabis legalization.
Forbes outlined how McConnell’s strategy has blown up in his face.
In legalizing hemp, McConnell has made it virtually impossible to prosecute people for cannabis offenses – even in the 17 states where cannabis remains completely illegal.
When the Trump government legalized hemp while keeping cannabis illegal, they overlooked one very important practical consideration. Law enforcement agencies have no means of (legally) distinguishing cannabis from hemp when they attempt to prosecute people for cannabis-related offenses.
That’s a pretty big Unintended Consequence for McConnell & Co. to overlook.
Forbes expands on this.
If you can’t even throw people in jail for pot in Texas, where’s the fun in Prohibition?
Forbes then focuses on a less silly and much more serious issue that Congress has created for itself by not already legalizing – and regulating – cannabis and cannabis products.
People all across the United States are developing potentially life-threatening lung issues as a result of using marijuana vaporizers. There have been hundreds of cases reported nationwide where vape users have been admitted to Intensive Care Units of local hospitals for pneumonia-like respiratory infections.
In some instances, victims have fallen into comas and have needed machines to keep them alive and kicking. At the time that this article was written, there has been at least one death connected to this scourge. This health problem is a direct result of federal cannabis prohibition.
Just like the days when alcohol was outlawed in the United States, back when thousands of people died every year as a result of tainted liquor produced in the underground, black market criminal organizations are counterfeiting popular cannabis brands.
Cannabis doesn’t kill people. But cannabis Prohibition is killing people and jeopardizing the health of significant numbers of Americans.
If Congress (and the McConnell-controlled Senate) still aren’t taking this seriously, maybe they will when one of the victims of these “fake vapes” (or their estate) launches a nine-figure lawsuit against the Trump administration for its culpability?
We now know that cannabis Prohibition is a fraud. It always has been. There was never the slightest justification for criminalizing cannabis.
The politicians who continue to choose to willfully blind themselves about cannabis because of old prejudices may be immune to legal liability. But the governments they represent certainly are not.
If people are now dying simply because Mitch McConnell considers cannabis legalization politically unpalatable, someone is going to pay. It will likely end up being the U.S. taxpayer – on behalf of the federal government. But Republicans like McConnell can still face repercussions for irresponsibly indulging in their own anti-cannabis biases: at the ballot box.
While McConnell may consider himself immune to the wrath of U.S. voters, many other Republicans do not have that luxury. This includes McConnell’s boss: Donald Trump.
Trump has consistently demonstrated that he is willing to throw anyone under the bus whom he sees as a threat to his own popularity. There are a lot of people in Washington (not all of them Democrats) who would really enjoy seeing a set of tire-tracks overtop of Mitch McConnell.
Congress is still currently talking about legalizing cannabis. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D – Oregon) still sees this as a possibility in 2019, according to Forbes.
Voting “yes” to legalize cannabis in 2019 could do more than save American lives. It could save the political lives of a number of Republicans.
Published at Fri, 06 Sep 2019 10:00:03 +0000