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The Other Green Deal

The mysterious weirdness about the legend of the ganja

by Amy Irene White with images from the Bob T. collection

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One of the most exasperatingly ridiculous brick walls in Washington DC is, the age-old conundrum of legalizing marijuana. Cannabis is forever wedged between stuffy Republicans afraid to piss off the Christians, and Democrats who vote for whatever the DNC throws at them because they naively believe the pipe dreams of the campaign trail.

Since the earliest days of our country, some form of cannabis has existed and been used for industrial, recreational, and medical reasons. And there has been a mysterious weirdness about the legend of the ganja since our founding fathers grew industrial hemp. It has been the dirty little secret tied up in the back corner of politics, racism, wars, our border, science and medicine, music and arts, religious arguments, pretty much every aspect of life… and it got its bad boy persona while Roosevelt was President. Marijuana was made illegal in 1937… the same year as Amelia Earhart climbed in her last cockpit.. two years before the release of Gone with the Wind and the wizard of Oz.

Throughout the years, marijuana has gone through many transformations in the public eye. The musicians had reefer madness and the comedians just went up in smoke… The hippies were one toke over the line, and sweet Jesus, Bill Clinton didn’t inhale. Yet somehow, cannabis never recovered from her prohibition the way alcohol did. There were bars and liquor stores on every corner of America almost a century before a few little pot stores are finally easing their way into the mainstream. And what stores they are… no longer do you take the risk of buying a dime bag of parsley in a dark alley. Now marijuana has been institutionalized and sanitized to a Starbucks type sell that rivals any Walgreens.

So why does it still wear such a stigma? Why do money hungry politicians not seize on the vast amount money there is to be made? Why do breaking edge pharmaceutical companies refuse to acknowledge what patients are screaming from the rooftops? Why do green new climate changers and farmers not preach the benefits of farming cannabis and hemp? What will it take, to make a bipartisan change that would benefit so many people?

I personally believe you should be able to buy cannabis seeds at Walmart like heirloom tomatoes. I mean, I can buy and legally grow, poppies… belladonna.. castor beans that produce ricin.. why can’t I grow a plant that has never killed a soul? But at the very least, I would like for someone to explain to me how there exists a medicine that is legal in some states, but not others. What do we have to do, to get all of our politicians on both sides of the aisle to stand up and fight for our right to try?

I reckon if you made it this far, you are truly interested in what happens with the cannabis brouhaha. So, this is the information I have been able to gather pertaining to the current sojourn of Proud Mary through the halls of our nation’s Capital.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) were scheduled to conduct a legislative hearing on Wednesday, October 13th, which included consideration of the bipartisan VA Cannabis Research Act of 2021, HR 2916. So far, there have been no updates, when I wrote this.

The legislation “would direct the VA to conduct clinical research with varying forms of medicinal cannabis to evaluate the safety and effects of cannabis on health outcomes of veterans with PTSD and veterans with chronic pain.”

Now, we all know, this particular plant has been researched more than Donald Trump. Regardless, the VA acknowledging that it is a medicine at all, is most assuredly a step in the right direction.

Another good thing about it is the bipartisan sponsorship. The House bill sponsor is Representative Lou Correa, a Democrat from California, who is a member of HVAC.. and the bill is co-led with Representative Peter Meijer, a Republican from Michigan. The bill has a Senate companion S.1467, carried by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Democrat Chairman Jon Tester from Montana, and co-led with another Republican, Alaska’s Dan Sullivan.

According to a nationwide survey conducted by The American Legion in 2017, 39 percent of veteran respondents affirmed that they “know a veteran” who is using the plant medicinally. We know, it is probably a lot more than that. And speaking of which…. Twenty two percent of respondents said they themselves “use cannabis to treat a mental or physical condition.”\

There is also the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, known as the ‘MORE Act’, H.R. 3617. It has been around awhile but has recently been revamped and come back to life, and is attempting to pass the House once again. It was recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 26 to 15.

An earlier version of the MORE Act passed the House of Representatives in December 2020 by a bipartisan vote of 228 to 164… and then it ran into Mitch McConnell, who reacted in true stodgy old RHINO style by blocking all action on the bill. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has peered over his spectacles and vowed to end federal cannabis prohibition… but so far, no clear results or actions have occurred from him either. It would be nice if we had bipartisan reaching across the aisle as often as we have grandstanding bipartisan bullshit.

None of our so-called leaders want to wade off in the political quagmire of unraveling the red tape that binds our dear Mary Jane. Cannabis in some form is legal for medical use in 37 states, the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories. However, it remains illegal under federal law, which really isn’t legally accurate anyway. The federal government still has marijuana listed as a Schedule 1 drug. A Schedule 1 classification means it is a substance with no medical use.

According to Americans for Safe Access, at least 4.3 million Americans use cannabis medicinally through regulated state and local programs, and even the World Health Organization has deemed cannabis to have medical value.

The MORE Act would go a long way toward fixing the problem, by removing cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and decriminalizing its possession and use. It also would expunge certain cannabis offenses and remove quite a few nonviolent offenders from prison.

NORML and ASA, Americans for Safe Access, stand solidly behind the More Act. “If this legislation is signed into law, it will represent one of the greatest reforms of cannabis policy to date,” said ASA Executive Director Debbie Churgai. “Patients will no longer fear losing civil rights and protections, barriers to cannabis research would fall, and insurance companies would be able to cover patient costs.”

The bill’s provisions are currently under consideration by the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Agriculture, Education and Labor, Ways and Means, Small Business, Natural Resources, Oversight and Reform, and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Supporters of the MORE Act state it will benefit the cannabis industry of America in the following ways.

Ending the conflict of laws between the federal and state governments on cannabis.

Enabling patients to travel across state lines with their medication without fear of punitive law enforcement intervention, fines or jail time.

Improving facilitation of federal, academic and private research on medical cannabis in the U.S.
Introducing much-needed federal leadership and oversight over key components of medical cannabis policy that states have struggled with, such as laboratory testing and labeling standards, patient access, and medical cannabis businesses practices.

Establishing grant programs for cannabis job training programs, cannabis-related criminal records expungement programs and a national equity licensing program.

Allowing federal permits to applicants with felony cannabis convictions.

Creating an Office of Cannabis Justice to oversee social equity provisions in the bill.

Directing taxes from retail sales to pay for job training, legal fees and health education programs in impacted communities.

Helping disadvantaged business owners to create equitable cannabis licensing programs for individuals impacted by the drug war.

This information can be found at the following website:

I truly hope the Republicans in Congress start paying attention to the skunky air about them… and realize that this is a new day for cannabis and supporting the legalization would bring in more votes than a Dominion voting machine at 3 am.

No longer is this a Democrat issue… it is now a human rights issue.. a scientific issue.. a green new deal. If they are so hell bent on bringing on the Armageddon in Bible in every other way possible, perhaps they need to read the part in Revelation about the plant whose leaves will heal the nations. So put all that in your bong and smoke it, I guess.

- Amy Irene White

Join Bandit's Cantina for the kicks.
Join Bandit's Cantina for the kicks.

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