by Letitia Pepper (via email)
Bud’s explanation of why we are going to have to agree to regulations sooner or later sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it? To say that regulations are an unavoidable consequence of making medical marijuana legal just sounds right. Except it’s not. Especially because there are regulations and then there are regulations — and AB 2312 is regulations that are bad for patients because they are contrary to the purpose and point of Prop. 215.
Let’s begin with Bud’s reference to “medical grade” marijuana. This is buying into the same annoying efforts to turn an elegantly simple herbal remedy into a faux prescription drug as are people providing cannabis being forced to wear scrubs! If we’re going to force people to wear any costume, it should be overalls! This stuff is grown, not created in a lab!
There is no such thing as “medical grade” marijuana. There is just cannabis, which, like other produce, comes in different varieties and may or may not be the best-looking stuff in terms of what happened to it as it was growing. It may have dust, bugs or hair on it, it may have been grown organically or not, but it’s not a processed product. You can smell it, look at it, heft it — just like you can do the same with other produce. You can ask the person who grew it what he or she did to it and what chemicals they used. You can refuse to buy it if it’s not tested — or scoff and say you can take care of yourself.
Imagine — without the intercession of committees, experts or anyone else, people have been growing, using and sharing cannabis for thousand of years, through the use of DDT, Paraquat, and who knows what else. Were there any major problems? No — the only problem was the government’s decision to get involved — for the bad, not-so-hiddden agenda reasons detailed by Jack Herer in “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.”
So, why can’t people do what they’ve done for YEARS without the need for regulation? Choose the cannabis they want to use, determine if their source and the information provided is trustworthy, and then use it and confirm, trustworthy or not.
It was Prop. 215, that, by allowing sources to come out into the open, and allowing anyone who can or wants to the right to grow his or her own and share it legally, empowered cannabis consumers in ways that years of politician-written laws could and would never have done – a way that is consumer-driven, not business-driven, and which makes sense.
And that is why they — the business-oriented interests — want regulations, which they are trying to paint as good for consumers/patients — (so why was one of the biggest groups to turn out in support of AB 2312 union employees?) AB 3212 takes cannabis out of the hands of small patient/growers and, by the very act of regulating it, turns it into a for-profit commercial venture, where regulatory expenses will automatically increase the cost of the produce, and appointment to the regulatory board a political spoil coveted by competing forces. Just what we need: more political intrigue.
Cannabis is a plant, suitable, like fruits and vegetables, for small as well as large-scale production. People can grow it in their backyards. If people grow zucchini in their backyards and give it, or trade it, to their neighbors for less than Walmart is selling it, does that require financial and social accountability? If not, why not? If so, why?
Zucchini and other raw crops and foods are not taxed, why should cannabis be taxed? Just because the government can make money by taxing it is the only excuse. Why should cannabis be treated differently than any other plant? Than grapes? Think about this: substitute the concept of growing grapes into this discussion and ask yourself, should people’s relationship with grapes be taxed, regulated and controlled in the same way as it will be under AB 2312?
All these rules and regulations will make cannabis more expensive and less available, and create more layers between people and the kind of medicine that you can grow and use without processing.
Who needs THAT to happen? Consumers? Patients? Or the business and political interests that will make money by turning Prop. 215’s small, not-for-profit model into a taxed, regulated, controlled, and salaried-regulators-kind of thing, and who also will be set to reap opportunities for influence by peddling in their roles as the regulators of this valuable form of produce.
Bottom line: Bud thinks that AB 3212 will make people more financially and socially accountable. But the point of Prop. 215 was NOT to make anyone more financially and socially accountable, but to make cannabis as safe and affordable as possible. AB 3212 does neither, and, in fact, can’t help but make access MORE expensive.