With the continuing absence of action by the Federal Government in regards to this nationwide marijuana rebellion, some begin to feel uneasy about their possible intentions. It has become apparent to pro-marijuana activists and prohibitionists alike that this movement has far too much momentum to be stopped. Realizing that they have lost the battle the Feds are now seeking to win the war.
In Washington State (one of five states that currently have recreational marijuana laws in place) it would appear that they are setting the tone, along with Colorado, for all other states to follow. However, Douglas Hiatt, a local defense attorney and marijuana activist, feels differently. Under Initiative 502, adults over the age of 21 can purchase marijuana, but only from a “state-regulated” store. It is still illegal for citizens to grow their own marijuana. A huge distinction from Colorado’s law. Hiatt fears that the state plans to take an authoritarian approach specifically to drive traffic from unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries into tax-generating businesses.
“A state-controlled recreational marijuana market will not be able to replace the current black market” argued Hiatt, “The only way to do that is to have a free market. The whole thing is going to turn into a very expensive boondoggle,” he predicted. “They’re actually talking about a new form of prohibition, saying, ‘let’s go bust all of these people to make sure our state businesses work.’”
Mark Kleimen, Washington’s paid marijuana consultant, has been encouraging the Seattle City Council to crack down on marijuana dealers and growers to drive customers into the new state-approved businesses, a move that could make life difficult for the current medical marijuana patients. After the surge of federal raids on the non state regulated dispensaries it begins to look a little suspicious. Creating a controlled and quite limited market will not only restrict access of much-needed medications but will put all the power in the hands of the government when determining price, quality and production. Voting the first legalization laws into place was simply the first step, but without careful follow-up, the movement could still be lost to the greed of the same men who sought to maintain the war on drugs.
Seeking to replace the illicit profits from the war on marijuana, the Feds are looking to control the new and blooming marijuana industry. Sanjay Gupta and many others have uncovered some interesting information that reveals their intentions to capitalize, while simultaneously restricting others:
“The U.S. holds a patent on medical marijuana as “a protectant for the brain” on one hand, and on the other hand, the same government says it has no medical applications,” Gupta told Cooper. “Journalists are trained to hate hypocrisy. This is hypocrisy. I’ve never seen it quite like this.”
One of the biggest concerns is that control of production and distribution will eventually fall into the hands of the very same entities who dictate all big business, and their primary concern is not for the people. There is a Big Marijuana, just like Big Tobacco, beginning to emerge, and they are fighting recreational legalization. Medical marijuana is a billion dollar industry that they don’t want to lose to full on legalization.
“There are people who are benefiting financially and would prefer to see nothing change that,” said Erik Altieri, communications director for NORML’s northeast chapter. “NORML believes the only way to truly ensure access for those patients who need cannabis for medical purposes is to legalize its use for all adults,” he added. “This will provide every adult safe and convenient access to quality cannabis, regardless of whether or not their state legislators think their specific condition ‘qualifies.’”
The American public must not linger in this temporary victory of quasi-legalization. The government has not lost their sinister intentions to control this miracle plant one way or the other. Those intent on creating a free market away from the previous criminal element must be cognitive of where those seeking to profit from its exploitation wish to take it. This battle for outright legalization will not be won until the average citizen can access cannabis without the federal government being involved in some way. The government has made it abundantly clear that they wish to keep marijuana and all its curative properties in the dark and will do so however possible. Currently that means placating the public with complacency while simultaneously trying to control the emerging marijuana industry. This fight is far from over, and this is presently the calm before the storm.