The Green Association for Sustainability

Examining, Defining and Promoting a Sustainable World

Category: Social Sustainability

Social sustainability defines itself by examining the health, education, and class economics of a society.  What defines social sustainability and a “good” society?

CANNABIS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

A REVIEW OF CANNABIS LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Although Massachusetts was the first state to require a “prescription” for the purchase and possession of cannabis,  California became the first state to “ban” marijuana in 1911.  The California cannabis laws were not related to the plant itself, but rather were a racist bid against Mexican immigrants.  With each election cycle, more states fell into prohibition, and by 1933, twenty-nine states had criminalized cannabis.  In an especially Draconian legislature,  Texas was the first state to classify marihuana as a “narcotic”.

Ironically, in 1996, California also became the first state to defy the Federal chokehold on cannabis laws, by then bound within the “Schedule 1” narcotic fallacy.  After the Harrison Narcotics Act was passed in the 1930’s, Reefer Madness began.  Cannabis was not the motivating factor in creating The Harrison Narcotics Act.  It was a global political strategy to control the movement of heroin.  In order to manipulate the United Nations into a criminalization of narcotics, the US needed laws of it’s own that provided for criminal charges surrounding narcotics.  The Harrison Narcotics act criminalized marijuana in the United States and “reefer madness” began.  By 1937, the Federal legislature passed the “Marijuana Tax Act of 1937”.  As the tax was just $1.00, this complicated legislation was of not a revenue scheme.  This was  but another step closer to complete cannabis prohibition in the Controlled Substances Act of 1972.

Currently, at least 27 US states have created differing cannabis laws and regulations for the recreational and/or medical use of marijuana.  Still, the US Federal Government considers cannabis a dangerous narcotic with no medical use.  Across the world,  industrialized and underdeveloped countries use Draconian practices to inforce illegal cannabis possession.  Even within the United States,  cannabis laws allow punitive death sentences for simple possession (possession without aggravating factors) above certain weights.

MEDICALLY REGULATING CANNABIS

Various states within the US  have implemented medical and recreational regulations for the use of marijuana.  Although years of anecdotal evidence correlates otherwise, the US Federal Government continues to considers cannabis Schedule I narcotic.  The complex regulations that state legislatures create to bypass federal prohibition are tenuous under Federal law. Still, each election cycle brings new regulations, often passed by voters under the sole motivation of personal use.  On the other end of the spectrum, states institute Draconian laws and reactive justice to inforce illegal cannabis possession.  In states that do not regulate cannabis for public or medical use, punishment on conviction can carry life sentences for simple possession.

THREE MISSIONS OF THE GREEN ASSOCIATION FOR SUSTAINABILITY

In addition to examining social sustainability, GrAS scrutinizes cannabis laws within the US and around the world.  Although the global consensus in developed nations has changed dramatically surrounding marihuana, it is still considered a high crime in many countries, including the United States.   The movement at the state level of government has allowed for a wider acceptance, but has not changed the federal, or the global marijuana laws.  Although there was a period of detante during the Obama administration, the War on Marijuana continues in our own backyard, and across the globe.

Three important goals of the Green Association for Sustainability include:

1) EXAMINE CANNABIS REGULATIONS

GrAS examines the failed political policies of the continuing 20th Century Drug War.  Historically, prohibitive cannabis laws have been well scrutinized.  They readily demonstrate the many social justice issues inherent in the judicial processes.  GrAS reviews state regulatory laws and their motivations in the context of the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

2) DEFINE THE TERMS OF THE STATE REGULATIONS

GrAS defines the terms of medical and recreational schemes and legislative regulations.  Usually, the legislative language is vague, creating a regulatory framework.  A bureaucratic agency is created to design the regulatory specifics.  These city, district or county regulations have the most impact on lives, yet are the least well defined or understood.

3) PROMOTE FEDERAL DECRIMINALIZATION

The importance of medical marijuana to the medical community should be our first concern.  The medicalization discourse legitimized marijuana, and opened the conversation.   While prohibitionists may have medical compassion, understanding recreational use eludes them.

Recreational marijuana is popular and a lucrative tax collection paradigm for cash-strapped states.  In addition to the tax revenue, another advantage is the law enforcement and judicial management of possession offenders.  True recreational regulation will require an alignment of federal and state laws.

ARE WE ADDING PUNITIVE LAWS OR CREATING A PROFITABLE MARKET?

In addition to examining the politics surrounding state and federal legalization or medicalization plans.  GrAS seeks to define if such regulations create additional statutory laws by examining policy.  Do recreational legalization regulations add to the Drug War criminal code, rather than provide protection against prosecution?

THE UNCOMPENSATED USAGE OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE

Exposure of those schemes that remove the means of cannabis production from the people to the State is of great interest.  Therefore, the motivation of those regulatory plans created for the purpose of controlling the indigenous cannabis culture are examined.  Was the usurpation of the indigenous knowledge of the cannabis culture by state administrators intentional?  What will happen to the creative experimentation and product of that culture’s members?  More importantly, will state bureaucrats use the same care and creativity as an independent indigenous cannabis cultivator?

Although GrAS concerns itself with the current state political strategies of recreational and medical cannabis legalization, we advocate for the protection of all indigenous rights.

 

 

SB 269 and COMPASSIONATE USE

More about GrAS

SB 269 and COMPASSIONATE USE

MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN TEXAS WITH SB 269

In January of 2017, SB 269 was sent to the Heath and Human Services Committee of the Texas Legislature for review.  Filed by Senator José Menéndez (D),  the proposed legislation would expand the compassionate use program beyond low-THC (CBD).  Legal exceptions would allow medical grade cannabis under strict consultation and recommendation of a doctor. SB 269 would also increase the number of debilitating conditions that qualify for the Texas Compassionate Use Program (T-CUP).

“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,” said Senator Menéndez. “This is legitimate medicine that can help a variety of sick people, from the grandmother suffering from cancer to the veteran coping with PTSD after returning home from war.”

“Doctors, not politicians, should be determining what is best for Texas patients,”

IS T-CUP A VIABLE PROGRAM?

If SB269, or any other medical cannabis legislation, does the State of Texas have the ability to administer the program?  Under the current legislative plan, the Department of Public Safety would continue oversight, and monitor, enforce, and regulate the program.   But the current program is ineffective:  Even those who qualify for the program claim that the quality of the product and dosages are often inadequate.

“My son Miles would qualify under the T.CUP program.” states Debbie Tolany in support of the bill.  “However, it’s not an effective treatment for his disease because he needs stronger and more reliable medicine than what is allowed.”   Tolany supports Senator Menéndez’s bill because under current regulations, her son still suffers.  He needs medical cannabis.”

In addition to intractable epilepsy, cannabis has been shown to treat PTSD symptoms, without the side effects of dangerous anti-depressant medications.  Texas is home to 1.7 million veterans who are left out of the current program. After years of sacrifice and valor, the state needs to honor our nation’s heroes by granting them access to medicine that would treat PTSD, TBI, and other wounds of war.

MEDICAL CANNABIS IS A SAFER ALTERNATIVE

Medical cannabis has proven to be a safer and more effective drug than many prescription painkillers currently offered.  “Psychotropic and opiate based drugs have lasting and dangerous side effects for many veterans,” said Kate Cochran-Morgan, retired Hospital Corpsman Fleet Marine Force 3rd Class, Petty Officer. “As a service member in the United States Military, I fought for our country’s freedoms.”  Cochran-Morgan supports and advocates expansion of the Compassionate Use program.  “My fellow veterans and I should have the freedom to use medical cannabis to treat the diseases that still haunt us.”

CANNABIS:  A TOOL TO FIGHT THE OPIATE EPIDEMIC

The Texas Compassionate Use Program statistics shows a correlation between a reduction in prescription drug abuse by allowing alternative medicine. “Doctors should be able to recommend cannabis to their patients if they think it will help alleviate their suffering,” said Amanda Berard, a retired Army medic and current nurse in San Antonio. “This is especially true with regard to treating chronic and severe pain. We are facing an opiate epidemic in terms of addiction and overdose death.”  Berard also notes that states allowing access to medical cannabis for chronic pain have seen a reduction in the number of overdoses.

“COMPASSIONATE USE”  IS AN INSIDIOUS TERM OF PROHIBITION

The term itself begs the question of the intent of “compassionate use” laws. “Compassion should not be exclusive” Senator Menendéz claims.  Yet these programs are ineffective and restrictive, offering little comfort or compassion.   It does allow a state to offer a pathetic (pathos) appeal to anti-prohibitionists, while maintaining its 20th century stance on cannabis.  Senate Bill 269 will  provide real relief for those who need it most .

“It is time Texas steps up to the plate on behalf of our sickest patients.”  – Sen. Jose Menendez

http://www.khou.com/news/local/state-lawmaker-filing-bill-to-legalize-medical-marijuana/363540886

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/texas-senator-files-bill-to-expand-use-of-medical-marijuana/364433984

 

CANNABIS LAWS AND REGULATIONS