Thoughts from the editor……

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THE GRASS ON THE OTHER SIDE

Releaf Magazine June 2012

Just as young children look to their parents for their rules and guidelines, we have been brainwashed as adults into thinking our government must provide us with the same type of authority.  Instead of telling the government how we want to live our lives and the rules they must follow, we look to them to decide if our actions are right or wrong.  This is apparent as our Bill of Rights and the Constitution continue to wither away in front of our eyes.  It is also blatant in the prohibition of cannabis.  17 states have enacted a medical marijuana program, 15 states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis, while over 50% of the country supports legalization of cannabis.  While these numbers seem encouraging and may show progression in the cannabis movement, it also shows the power we give up by letting the government decide how cannabis should be regulated.  It places Americans in a position where they must settle for less than they deserve and still fall victim to the mercy of a cannabis monopoly.  In dry states, the DEA has and will continue to control the monopoly.  The free enterprise of the California medical system has been viewed by some as the ‘wild west,’ leading to tighter regulation in other states that implement medical marijuana programs.  The leniency of the California program allowed for many California residents to realize large financial gains by starting new businesses and engaging in cannabis related commerce.  Wait….Americans making a living for themselves off of the land, growing plants that can heal and provide for self sufficiency? In today’s society it seems too good to be true, and unfortunately it will be for many states moving forward.  That’s not what we are lead to believe though, just look at the picture that is being painted.  Most states considering medical legislation immediately see opposition from those referencing the “flaws” in the California system.  This has lead to private interest groups finding a backdoor into the driver’s seat of a cannabis monopoly.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Massachusetts which has multiple bills calling for medical marijuana being legal for its citizens.  The bills that have no support are the bills that give patients the rights to provide for themselves, or appoint their own caregiver to provide for them.  The bill that has support from the “for profit” patient’s organization is backed by a corporate giant with interest in keeping growing rights away from patients and put directly into the hands of corporations.  I will say this as clearly and as blunt as I can: when you grow your own medicine for yourself, no one makes money from it. Sure, you may be better off as an individual, but as stated earlier, the government tells us how, what and when we can chew, rather than we pick out our own piece to chew on.  So, to those living in a state without a medical marijuana program ready to support any bill that offers legalization, I will offer the following advice: the grass might look greener on the other side, but check to see if its fertilized with bullshit. 

Think Responsibly,

The Urban Alchemist

2 COMMENTS

  1. “…Massachusetts… has multiple bills calling for medical marijuana being legal for its citizens. The bills that have no support are the bills that give patients the rights to provide for themselves, or appoint their own caregiver to provide for them. The bill that has support from the “for profit” patient’s organization is backed by a corporate giant with interest in keeping growing rights away from patients and put directly into the hands of corporations. ”

    This unfortunately is a rather misinformed analysis, based on half understood half truths about what’s going on in Massachusetts. It troubles me, since I’ve studied these bills, that you don’t seem clear at all about what any of the “multiple bills ” actually do or do not propose and that you also seem to not understand the difference between a bill and a ballot initiative question. What we will see on the ballot in November is a ballot initiative question to be put to the voters of the Commonwealth, not a bill, which is a piece of legislative writing proposing reform, the fate of which has to be determined in the State House and Senate Chambers, by votes taken there, if it ever comes to that. It can take a looooong time for a bill to come up for a vote, even years, even in a case like this where members of both houses are trying to cooperate to get this long stalled reform up and running.

    Here are some links that might help you get a clearer idea about what the medical marijuana bills of State rep Frank Smizik and State Senator Stan Rosenberg actually say, and how much support they’ve gotten in their respective houses thus far. I daresay support for these bills grew incrementally when we activists got extra vocal about it, and I’m confident if there was an upsurge in calls and letters and office visits ongoing from concerned constituents, even more reps would sign on. They all need to be reminded that when they were voted in, we simultaneously passed public policy questions across the state instructing them to work for us on the issue of legalizing cannabis either as medicine or as a taxable commodity for adult consumption.

    Here’s State Rep Frank Smizik’s bill, introduced into the state house of representatives:
    http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/House/H00625

    and here is a list of the other representatives who have signed on to support this bill:Steven A. Tolman, John D. Keenan, Byron Rushing, Joyce A. Spiliotis, Stephen Kulik, Rhonda N. Nyman, Cleon H. Turner, Cory Atkins, Carl M. Sciortino, Stephen L. DiNatale, Alice K. Wolf, Kay Khan, John W. Scibak, William N. Brownsberger, Gloria L. Fox, Tom Sannicandro, Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera, Denise Provost, Elizabeth A. Malia, Ruth B. Balser, Anne M. Gobi, Christine E. Canavan, James B. Eldridge, Jonathan Hecht, Ellen Story, Thomas M. Petrolati

    That’s not exactly “no support” for the bill, it just isn’t enough, not yet. But how do you think this many reps have decided to support this bill? If you’re guessing pressure from voters and patient’s rights groups had something to do with it, you’re right.

    Here’s a link to State Senator Stan Rosenberg’s bill:S.1161
    It has also garnered support, soon after its introduction, in the State Senate… I daresay it would get much more if people like you, dear readers, troubled to find out who your state reps and senators are and, instead of villifying people in the government you don’t even know anything about and assuming they won’t listen to you, if you actually talked to them on a regular basis, got to know which are the good guys and gals, our allies who champion for us in this struggle, and honestly worked with them as IF you had some respect for the process of participatory democracy and showed your willingness to work with the actual people who have a job that involves listening to and acting on behalf of your concerns–, or, if you can’t buy that premise, still, if we all always wrote to them, emailed, flooded them with calls and letters, twits and tweets really telling them exactly what we voted them in to do and how important it is to us that they do it…

    So’ last but not least, here, for your perusal, is the language of the ballot initiative ( I hope this will work as a link, if not I’ll find some other way to share it to you;

    A copy of the ballot question can be accessed through this link.

    OK, so, if you read the bills you see they’re identical and if you read the initiative you see how it’s like and in some ways different from what it does and does not say. You will have to admit it does not say, “patients will have no right to provide for themselves or appoint a care provider.” Like the bills, the initiative defines and specifies what it will take to become a qualifying patient, also what constitutes and qualifies care provider or a not for profit medical treatment center. And like the bills, the initiative specifies protections from prosecution in the state for all qualifying parties in this system.

    You write, “The bill that has support from the “for profit” patient’s organization is backed by a corporate giant with interest in keeping growing rights away from patients and put directly into the hands of corporations.”

    What are you talking about? You meant the the ballot question, I presume? So, please be kind enough to read the whole thing carefully, thoroughly, including the part about under which circumstances patients may grow and what it would take for a patient to maintain a legal grow, the part about care providers and the part that specifies that the dispensaries, in this case termed “medical treatment centers”, will not be “corporate” for profit entities, but ll licensed and run according to Massachusetts’ legal specs for not for profit businesses. Then, once you really understand the political process better and have done some more real journalism around your other allegations, naming names, citing sources etc, you may be able to dignify the following questions with reasonably informed and accurate answers… or not???? I’d like to see you take the challenge.

    Which patient’s organization are you saying is “for profit”? Who, then, do you specifically think is profiting and where’s the money coming from?? Which corporate giant, in this case, do you think is bent on keeping growing rights away from patients with this initiative, and which corporations then do you speculate will be granted the right to grow by anything iterated in this initiative language? Who do you think signed the petitions it took to put this question on the ballot in November? Corporate giants? Guess again. Voters got this question on the ballot, that’s who.

    I hope you understand I am playing devil’s advocate here and only challenging you to think better, understand your subject better, and to try to substantiate your claims with journalistic integrity or don’t go making such spurious claims!

    I have my own reasons to be somewhat unhappy with both the language of the bills and of the initiative. But that’s enough for now. I hope you’ll accept my critique with all due respect and understand I’m not trying to prove you wrong exactly, but have you hone your argument if you really believe you’re right.

    When you’ve done your own civics homework and understand the legislative and ballot intitative processes a little better,maybe we can have further, perhaps more fruitful and useful conversations about these bills, and this initiative coming right up for a vote in just a few months. Some of the language in each of these documents is terrific ally good, imho, granting patients, care providers, growers and treatment centers unprecedented right in this state. The again some of the language is flawed or vague and leaves so much to be determined in future, it’s rather daunting. I believe we’ll be hashing out the nuances of this thing for years to come, and trying to hone out of it a working system that actually gives medicinal cannabis its long overdue day in the sun here in the Bay state. Not that I don’t want stoners and market industrialists and clean fuel developers and makers of stylish togs and tasty treats a chance, but as a patient and sufferer of an endlessly destructive and debilitating disease, the prognosis of which is only pain and more pain for the rest of my life, I want my ganja as medicine and I want it now!

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