CANNABIS CULTURE – “You may say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one.” – John Lennon, Imagine, 1971
Nothing is more important to do at the moment than to save the world.
The key to saving the world at this moment is to shift away from the synthetic economy and take steps towards the natural economy. And the way to do that is to allow teens to smoke pot, and require farmers to grow it organically and ethically.
Then scapegoating will end and the world can live as one and hemp ethanol can replace fossil fuels and the economy will be spread out amongst hundreds of thousands of farmers and gardeners instead of a few banks and chemical companies.
Wait. What? How does fighting for teen pot access lead to saving the world?
Let me break it down for you.
The three reasons for activists to focus on ending age limits and adopting fair trade, organic standards in the new emerging legal cannabis economies are:
- Doing so might reduce teen suicides, car crashes and drug overdoses.
- Doing so would result in safer cannabis instead of industry-killing testing protocols
- Doing so would allow poor people and middle class people to participate in the economy and industrial hemp regulations to relax enough to allow it to compete with fossil fuels.
There it is in a nutshell. Now allow me to flesh it out a bit – it’s controversial so I will back up everything controversial I say with evidence in the form of a notation.
1) The kids are alright
“A Colorado Health Department survey found there wasn’t a huge racial difference in who smokes pot. But the marijuana arrest rate for white 10- to 17-year-olds fell by nearly 10 percent from 2012 to 2014, while arrest rates for Latino and black youths respectively rose more than 20 percent and more than 50 percent.”
“As Adults Legally Smoke Pot In Colorado, More Minority Kids Arrested For It”, June 29, 2016, Ben Markus, NPR (1)
Let me describe to you what would immediately happen if we were to replace all the age limits around cannabis retail in North America with organic, fair trade standards:
The first thing that we would notice would be that teens could now speak openly about any pot problems they might have without the stigma of prohibition putting fear of punishment or shame upon them. If they need help cutting down or quitting, it would be easier for them to seek help.
Teens would no longer be subject to the perils of prohibition – exposure to harder drugs sold on the black market, the criminal organizations that sometimes sell black market drugs, the black-market-related violence, racial profiling, arrest, search, jail, probation, fines, a criminal record, a non-criminal record, having to replace expensive, confiscated drugs that the police ended up smoking themselves … or dying from a police raid gone wrong.
Teens would be unlikely to experience any adverse effects from easier access to cannabis. Right now access is pretty easy – some teens are just born entrepreneurs, and sell to their friends at school. Use rates increased five fold between the 1970s and 1990s without any dips in the I.Q. rate or increases in psychosis during that time. (2) They’re not going to be harmed by the legal market pot, because there’s not that much evidence any were harmed by black-market pot.
Cannabis is probably the safest, cheapest and most effective anti-depressant and relaxant in the world, (3) so the horrific teen suicide rate stats might have a chance of going down.
Teens can buy their cannabis at a safe point of sale, which means they could take advantage of the organic standards and avoid adulterants, contaminants and molds and microbes and metals – a major benefit of the legal market (if there were also organic standards, that is). It also means they have a safe place to smoke it instead of a vehicle, which may reduce impaired driving. Giving teens a safe place to buy and smoke will most certainly reduce teen drunk driving. If they have access to great soft drugs, they will be less likely to turn to harsh hard drugs. Cannabis opioid substitution is a real thing. (4) Teen alcohol and opioid overdose deaths are a real problem. (5)
I feel fairly confident to say that nothing will improve teen-adult relations more than allowing teens to buy cannabis – at the very least following the Senate’s recommendations to allow teens of the age of 16 to buy on their own, (6) with a possible “doctor and parent permission policy” for those teens under 16 who can make a case for using it for stress, depression or physical illness, with regular evaluations from the doctor to monitor the progress.
Treating cannabis like coffee beans will allow humans to maintain some semblance of human medical autonomy – call it, say, “herbal medical autonomy”. This might be the difference between autonomy being the driving force in human evolution or, conversely, a lack of autonomy signaling the end to human evolution. (7)
2) Don’t Panic – It’s Organic
“A controversial pesticide banned in Canada has been discovered in products sold by a federally licensed medical marijuana producer, The Globe and Mail has learned, but neither the company nor Health Canada have informed the public. Myclobutanil, a chemical that is also prohibited for use on legal cannabis in Colorado, Washington and Oregon because of health concerns, was found in product recently recalled by Mettrum Ltd., a Toronto-based medical marijuana company.”
– “Canadians not told about banned pesticide found in medical pot supply”, Dec. 29, 2016, Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail (8)
Right now there’s a panic in the California cannabis market. New regulations have required retailers to test for “66 pesticides, 20 solvents, four heavy metals and three microbes, as well as cannabinoid profiles”. (9)
This is ass backwards. What is needed is to have organic standards that farmers have to meet so no synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are used in the first place. For the farmer, the regulation costs are one series of tests. For the retailer, it could be for over fifty series of tests, and this may favor the rich dealers and harm the poor ones.
Actually, what we really need is to ban the production of these fertilizers for any agricultural activities, as there’s reason to believe they are responsible for much of the cancer in the world, including five million deaths per year from tobacco-related cancer. (10) At the very least we should require the health and environmental costs to be factored into the cost of each product, and the harmful ones will price themselves out of existence.
And there’s good reason to be worried about this stuff in cannabis. Canadian LPs were caught using banned pesticides last year, and Health Canada was caught helping them to cover it up. (11)
Back in 2004, organic dispensary cannabis was compared with LP shwag in the only head-to-head comparisons that I know of – the organic illegal stuff came back lower in metals, microbes and molds than the not-organic “legal” stuff. (12) In the process of doing that testing, the testers learned there are no limits for metals in either tobacco or cannabis. (13)
All chemical fertilizers are radioactive, possessing polonium 210, lead 210 and radium, derived from apatite rock – a synthetic source for phosphates. Natural phosphorous should be substituted immediately if farmers and gardeners don’t want to be guilty of giving people cancer. (14)
3) Ain’t working on Maggie’s farm no more
“Producers growing flower that is unique, in that the strains are coveted and they’re grown clean and organic, there’s still going to be a market [for them],” she said. “Whether that market’s grey, black or in the legal market is another story because the government is making it prohibitive with the regulations to actually stay afloat and do business.”
– “Craft cannabis growers fear being shut out”, July 18, 2018, Sean Eckford, Coast Reporter (15)
Licensed producers brag about how many “jobs” they will be creating. (16) The fact is that they are involved in a process that is designed to turn thousands of small business people into employees of multi-million dollar corporations … or prisoners, if they’re not so lucky.
The organic, fair trade coffee bean industry is not over-regulated. Poor people all over the world can participate in it and earn a livelihood from it. (17) Nobody gets busted for coffee bean crimes. Farmers can make ends meet – they just have to spend a bit more on fertilizer. But they don’t end up killing the soil microbes, earthworms, farmers or customers that way. And if the prices are “fair trade” and the farms are collectively owned or collectively managed, nobody gets exploited – everyone is healthier as a result, and the money is spread around more evenly than if everyone was a wage slave.
The evidence for cannabis being a soft drug like coffee beans or other herbal medicine is vast. (18) We end up getting the regulations we settle for. And we shouldn’t settle for anything less than saving the world. Right now, hemp is over-regulated using the same “reefer madness” used to justify a retail cartel for those who can afford to jump through all the hoops. (19)
It’s now time for the pot activist community to challenge the existence of those cartel-creating, harmless-people persecuting hoops. The next article I write for CC will explain what legal arguments can be made in court to fight against post-legalization over-regulation. As the Jedi say – “Your focus becomes your reality”. Now it’s time to focus on turning hard drug regulations into soft drug regulations.
(16) (TSX:WEED), (NYSE:CGC) (“Canopy Growth” or the “Company”) and the
Government of New Brunswick are pleased to announce that with the support
of Opportunities New Brunswick, the Company will create 136 local jobs in the
booming cannabis sector over the next six-years.
(17) More than 1.66 million farmers and workers are involved in Fairtrade operations around the world.