The Associated Press reports, “A state district judge in Albuquerque has ruled this week that the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center should not penalize medical marijuana patients under its custody or supervision for using the drug.”
It is unclear whether other New Mexico jurisdictions will concur with the ruling, but it will inevitably be litigated nationally.
First, try to let’s understand the scope of our criminal justice problems.
‘The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.’
When I became the National Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws back in the early 1990s, I felt that it was my duty to go to the High Times Cannabis Cup, which was held annually in Amsterdam during the American Thanksgiving week. Work, work, work.
As part of my research I found out — the hard way — that Europeans almost always smoked a cannabis “joint” with tobacco. Until the late 1980s most of the cannabis in the Netherlands, and in the rest of Europe, was smuggled hashish, which can be really harsh to smoke, and since almost everyone smoked tobacco in those dark days, it was only natural to break up the hash and mix it with tobacco, often from a cigarette.
I grew up in a cloud of cigarette smoke, but unusual for my generation, I had never smoked tobacco, so taking a deep drag on a Dutch joint left me a little wobbly until I learned to ask. Fortunately, a few years experience with American cannabis enthusiasts (Stoners) taught our Dutch hosts to warn us if it was not “Pure” or “American.”
In the meantime, thanks in part to American exiles, the Dutch were starting to grow “Nederwiet,” Dutch grown weed that could be more easily smoked without tobacco, but Europeans still liked to mix Wiet with tobacco. However, the Dutch government joined the international effort to discourage tobacco use. In the coffeeshops and other venues where cannabis smoking is “tolerated” smokers can no longer mix it with tobacco, so they provide other herbs with no psychoactive effects. No thanks. I am still “pure.”
Meanwhile, The Guardian, Britain’s best left-of-center newspaper (the Telegraph is the best right-of-center paper) ran an article on December 19,2020 titled “Cannabis users ‘fail to grasp health risks of smoking,’ study says.”
Reefer Madness from a paper that is usually anti-prohibitionist?
It would appear that the gradual legalization of cannabis is leading big investment funds, pensions, mutual funds, etc., to recognize that cannabis is a compelling area for investment.
However, institutional investors may find themselves uncomfortable with an industry that has been so “controversial” (pardon the understatement) for so long. And at first blush (pardon the expression), they may have doubts about its suitability.
Should the “marijuana” segment be viewed like tobacco as a “sin” industry which various groups will shun for religious or moral reasons?
In the highly segmented investment industries, many institutions may have boards that limit their endowments’ investments to companies and industries that meet certain ethical criteria.
However, I strongly believe that the cannabis industries (note the plural) are not only suitable for ethical investors, they are compelling. And let’s start with Marijuana. Weed. Pot. Grass. Ganja. Etc.
Latin America has been very hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Argentina and other countries continue with their chronic economic problems. Now the New York Times is reporting that President Alberto Fernández has issued a decree that allows pharmacies to sell cannabis-based oils, creams and other products, and “orders public and private insurance systems to cover these medications for patients who obtain a prescription.”
Before he was elected, Fernandez said that “the war on drugs has failed” and “the solution isn’t to go around persecuting people for smoking a joint.”
The new decree also allows patients to grow their own medicine. Not that they were waiting for permission. The new rules also state that cannabis products should be made available for free in the country’s public health system for patients who don’t have health insurance. Obviously, any country with public health insurance should include medical cannabis in its coverage. It would probably save the government money.
The most stunning moments in my years of involvement in the marijuana legalization movement were when someone told me, “I haven’t tried to kill myself since I started using marijuana.”
I am not a doctor, a psychologist, or even a counselor, so I was really unprepared for that. I have had cancer patients tell me that if they had not had a few tokes of marijuana to help them with the extreme nausea from chemotherapy, they would have chosen to die from the cancer rather than endure the hellish side effects from the chemo. The pharmaceutical antiemetics had stopped working. Even in 1991, “More than 44% of the respondents report recommending the (illegal) use of marijuana for the control of emesis to at least one cancer chemotherapy patient. Almost one-half (48%) would prescribe marijuana to some of their patients if it were legal. As a group, respondents considered smoked marijuana to be somewhat more effective than the legally available oral synthetic dronabinol ([THC] Marinol).”
Altucher is a New Yorker who loves his city, so this was not the slightest bit of schadenfreude. Of course, many New Yorkers were outraged, but his points were based on real numbers that paint a very grim picture, especially for Manhattan, the heart of the metropolis.
Although the pandemic is the immediate cause of the city’s problems, the fundamental threat is simply “bandwidth.”
Guerrilla Marketing Makes Prohibition Counterproductive
Project Sam (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) may be the most successful side hustle in marijuana prohibition. They have evolved from opposing medical marijuana to supporting the medical use of cannabinoids as developed by the pharmaceutical industry and approved by the FDA. They have also evolved so that they are opposed to jailing marijuana users, so long as they comply with mandatory treatment.
Right now SAM has a new campaign aimed at the African American community called “Decriminalize Don’t Legalize,” which is done “In Partnership with the NAACP of Illinois.”