On Monday, July 7th, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Compassionate Care Act. This action made the state of New York the 23rd in the union to legalize medicinal marijuana. Although the stamp of approval is restricted to non-smokable forms via pills, oils, or vapors, the legalization of cannabis across America’s 50 states continues.
It has begun with Colorado and Washington. After six months, Colorado’s crime rate has gone down and revenue for the state is up. According to Forbes “Colorado pulled in two-million in taxes related to the sale of recreational marijuana in January 2014 alone. Combined with taxes on sales from medicinal marijuana, the state pulled in nearly 3.5 million dollars in cannabis related tax revenue. If that trend continues, the state will see more than 40-million in additional tax dollars in 2014. To put that in perspective, that’s approximately 1% of the total annual budgets for Delaware, South Dakota, Montana or West Virginia.” Interestingly, the four aforementioned states are among those that are adamant about not getting on board legally in a recreational capacity, however it is allowed medicinally in Delaware and Montana — and pending in West Virginia.
Despite this, the movement to end the prohibition nationwide is growing, as legalization bills and ballot measures are presently being discussed in nineteen states as well as Washington D.C. Activists of the hemp product believe that recreational bud smoking will be legal very shortly in Alaska, Oregon, and maybe Rhode Island http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2013/06/15/alaska-funks-it-up/. There are 24 states considering creating or expanding medical-marijuana programs, and as a result penalties for small-time possession are lightening up. Although it’s not totally accurate, the latest report regarding the status of cannabis use state-to-state can be seen here http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/pot-marijuana-legalization-map-states. More and more, Americans believe cannabis should be taxed and regulated, liken to alcohol. While marijuana has been proven to aid medical conditions such as cancer, ulcers, glaucoma, and reduce the rate of seizures for people with epilepsy; liquor is known for cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, gallstones and gout.
Taken from the daillkos.com: “According to the ACLU, states spend over 3.5 billion dollars every year enforcing marijuana laws, to say nothing of incarceration expenses, the loss of productive citizens and the damage done to family structures and our social fabric. This is money being wasted on the enforcement of policies that actually harm, rather than benefit, society, as evidenced by what is happening in Colorado.”
While many see decriminalization or legalization as a no brainer, there are still many that see it as being detrimental to one’s brain or adverse to a responsible society. So the beat goes on as millions travel to the beat of a different drum on both sides of the issue.
Beyond that, I can not imagine tobacco companies being opposed to the process moving forward. According to a recent article in Time magazine: “Tobacco executives anticipated the legalization of marijuana as early as the 1970′s — and they wanted a piece of the action, according to newly discovered documents from tobacco company archives…. A hand-written letter from Philip Morris president George Weissman read, ‘While I am opposed to its use, I recognize that it may be legalized in the near future… Thus, with these great auspices, we should be in a position to examine: 1. A potential competition, 2. A possible product, 3. At this time, cooperate with the government.’ …In early 1970, an unsigned memorandum distributed to Philip Morris’ top management read, ‘We are in the business of relaxing people who are tense and providing a pick up for people who are bored or depressed. The human needs that our product fills will not go away. Thus, the only real threat to our business is that society will find other means of satisfying these needs.’ …Philip Morris USA spokesman William Phelps said in an e-mailed statement, ‘Company documents from 45 years ago on this topic don’t represent our current view. Marijuana is illegal under federal law and we have no plans to sell marijuana-based products.’ The study’s authors said the documents provide proof of tobacco companies’ intent to enter the marijuana trade, despite public claims to the contrary. They urged policymakers to prevent tobacco makers from entering the nascent market for legal marijuana ‘in a way that would replicate the smoking epidemic, which kills 480,000 Americans each year.'”
As debates will surely persist from state-to-state and person-to-person, this past April, Easter fell on the 20th — 4/20 that is. Before I go on — some folks, smokers or not, still don’t know the origin of “4:20” that is now a universal code for pot smokers. In 1971, a group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos, started the use of 420. It was the time that they met to smoke weed, at their chosen hangout spot, which was a wall outside the school. The Waldos had no idea that hemp enthusiasts around the world, would cherish April 20th as the quintessential holiday for all that inhale cannabis or use it as they did, for fellow smokers to meet at a secluded designated spot… Now I’ll proceed — as one who doesn’t believe in coincidence, when Easter landed on the 20th of April this past year, I posed the question to a few as to what is more significant in this latter day.
A nation built on religion, hypocrisy and misinterpretation of the word, as much as people hold religion dear to their hearts, others have amended years of spiritual teachings to suit their lifestyle. Others have completely discounted religion as a result of generations of families having no connection to upholding the value it brings, due to being deceived by false teachings. This is a video I shot, just a few days before this year’s holiday.
Here’s a link for another short film dedicated to cannabis culture that was shot in Holland back in 2002 titled “Coffee Shopping in Amsterdam” http://museumofuncutfunk.com/2012/07/10/my-funky-documentary-coffee-shopping-in-amsterdam/
UPDATE 7/ 27/ 14: The New York Times endorses the National Legalization of Marijuana use http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html?_r=0
Yellow: Medical marijuana or limited access to low-THC formulas; Sky Blue: Decriminalization (generally, fines for minor offenses)
Aqua: Decriminalization and medical; Green: Legalization (recreational as well as medical use); White: Full prohibition
UPDATE 1/ 9/ 15: In the ongoing process for the legalization of cannabis, I use this blog to record updates on its development. This is an article that discusses the challenges marijuana business owners (primarily in Colorado) are currently facing… http://www.adn.com/article/20150208/first-bank-bud-colorado-canna-business-owners-wait-their-own-bank
UPDATE 5/ 3/ 15: What’s happening in Alaska… http://www.alaskacommons.com/2015/05/31/legal-marijuana-is-here-and-taking-applications
UPDATE 11/ 12/ 15: Hillary Clinton talks about marijuana on the campaign trail… http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/11/hillary-clinton-marijuana-medical-schedule-reclassified
Updated 01/12/17: Click here for a video on how to invest in “penny stocks” for cannabis by-products…
for the benefits that cannabis brings