I have a confession to make.
I've been writing about medical cannabis for just over two years now, meting out 650-word snippets of weekly wisdom (sometimes) on the topic, but my affair with medical cannabis seems to be running its course. I've tried to love it, tried to advocate and pontificate effectively on the merits of a well-regulated system that connects patients with meds and disconnects them from law enforcement, but ultimately I guess I'm just not that into it.
I'm a fan of cannabis, to be sure, and its numerous medical benefits, but the MedicalLegalBusiness paradigm we're struggling with across the nation is a painfully crippled latticework of ad hoc rules and controls that seem to funnel power and money into a few hands at the Little Guy's expense. I don't know about you, but I'm a little guy.
When I started this column in 2011, there were 14 medical marijuana states. Our state law was a year old, but Gov. Jan and her henchmen were keeping our meds behind a phalanx of lawyers led by Generalissimo Tom Horne, almost certainly hoping the feds would storm in and stomp on the emerging market.
Now there are 20 medical cannabis states and two recreational ones. The feds are demonstrably not stomping on things, and vow to keep not doing it. Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Delaware all jumped on the MMJ ship, and Washington and Colorado bypassed the entire MMJ shitstorm. Four of those seven cannabis laws came from legislatures, not voter initiatives. Six of the first seven MMJ state laws were passed by voter initiative, so it seems the lawmakers are catching up with voters.
But only two of those medical cannabis states accept my Arizona medical card, and each has its own set of nitpicking rules and regulations and stops and starts that will surely lead to lawsuits and generally to Suits. A Big Time Investor is already maneuvering to create the first national brand, which will bring dubious benefit to us Little Guys. It's starting to feel a little like Big Cannabis.
It would be easy to descend into my bitter Mr. Smith alter ego, hacking and slashing at the issue with a bunch of Fuck Yous and Fucksticks, to write about the slippery jizz of the soon-to-emerge BigCannabisBankUs orgy, but I won't.
So anyway, I don't think we need any more cannabis laws. I'm tired of all that business. What we need is fewer cannabis laws, or at least different ones that strip away all the controls in the medical paradigm. I've said before that I don't think Safer Arizona's legalization effort will pass, but I do think they'll get enough signatures to put it on the ballot next year.
And I'll vote for it, and so should you.
The law would take away all kinds of restrictions and let us grow in the privacy of our own guest bedrooms. Nobody cares if I make beer, so why should they care if I make cannabis? The medical benefits of a garden are clear, but no one is coming around your house counting how many carrots or green beans or heads of lettuce you're growing.
At the beginning of this year, I said I was going to shed any pretense of objectivity and be an advocate for medical cannabis. I still am an MMJ advocate, in much the same way I am still good friends with my ex-wife, but I am stripping away a little more pretense to say I'm no longer a fan of medical cannabis. Two years is a long time, MMJ, and I'm afraid we've grown apart.
I'm sorry, but I'm with Legalization Now.