Radical Rant: Haters—They’re Just Gonna Hate

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I have my share of critics. No, wait.


I have my share of haters.

Critics would, by definition, have to be offering a critique. I like critics; they sharpen my arguments and sometimes change them. I’ve been corresponding with quite a few critics who strongly disagree with a particular point of mine. I could use more critics.

But haters? I got plenty. After eight years of podcasts and articles, my strong opinions on marijuana – particularly medical marijuana – have led to a small grimace of haters* dedicated to polluting my social media-feeds.

Instead of engaging in compelling dialogue with a critic who leads me to greater understanding, from my haters I get abusive nicknames, thoughtless contradiction, and blame for every bad marijuana policy.

“It’s clear by reading you over the years,” one particularly trolly troll recently scribbled in the comments, “that you’re hell-bent on destroying medical marijuana.”

Destroy medical marijuana? Me? You bestow me so much power, agitated reader!

Yes, it all makes sense now. I’m the man behind the curtain, the one solely responsible, from the legislators in the West tightening the regulations and lowering the limits on medical marijuana to the legislators in the East passing medical marijuana laws that forbid actual marijuana.

It wasn’t the folks who campaigned with desperately ill patients, emotionally preaching about medical compassion for the sick and dying, which became stoner dudes sauntering in for a $30 autograph on a permission slip that gets him into the rap concert at the “medical” marijuana festival.

It wasn’t script mills and Skype exams and “caregiver for one patient at a time” storefronts that stretched every loophole and abused every technicality of the medical marijuana law.

It wasn’t bust after bust after bust of medically-grown pot by the trunk-load in possession of registered patients in states eastbound.

It can’t be the myriad ways in which medical marijuana in California became fodder for all opponents of future medical marijuana laws to use in their states—”We’re not going to be like California!”—to successfully pare down home-grow rights, reduce possession rights, tighten qualifying conditions, restrict patient access, create market imbalance, and takes us to such baby steps as CBD-only and no-plant-no-smoke medical-marijuana laws.

And, oh—No way is it GW Pharmaceuticals and a host of other well-capitalized, multi-national drug pushers who are going to make these cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavenoids equal to anything we can load in a vaporizer or bake in a brownie, as well as invent new cannabiceuticals that raw cannabis can’t touch, which will all be perfectly legal Schedule III drugs available from doctors and pharmacists in all fifty states and paid for by your medical insurance and… say, why is it we need a medical-marijuana law again?

Nope. Can’t be any of that. It must be me, the guy who observes it, then writes and talks about it. I’m the one to blame.

The problem for medical marijuana isn’t whether or not I’m criticizing it. The reason medical marijuana even exists in the first place is in opposition to the prohibition on marijuana for everyone. Marijuana smokers and cannabis growers get searched, ticketed, fined, arrested, and imprisoned, so we created medical marijuana laws to provide the patients with an exception to arrest.

If we cease searching, ticketing, fining, arresting, and imprisoning marijuana smokers, then what’s the need for a special exception for the ones who are sick?

Medical marijuana is going to be impacted by legalization, no matter how the legalization is written, because legalization begins to undermine the entire purpose of having a medical marijuana law in the first place – protecting patients and their providers from cops.

GreenWave Advisors recently released a report on the future of the marijuana market that makes this logical conclusion:

“We note the beginning of what we characterize as a marijuana market metamorphosis as states with both legalized medical and recreational use evaluate the practicality of a merged regulatory regime. We see this effort presently in Washington, Oregon and Alaska and expect that Colorado will soon follow….

“Should California vote to legalize recreational use this November, we expect implementation of a combined regulated market as soon as 2018. A combined California market is significant, not only because of its sheer size (~55% of the U.S. market), but also it would mark the first state to implement regulations for a fully legal market without initial oversight of medical use purchases. This could serve as a catalyst for similar action in Nevada, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maine.”

If advocates for medical use of whole-plant cannabis want to ensure the best policies for patients, it’s time, then, to adjust to the reality that state governments are not going to support duplicate bureaucracies to regulate the same plant for two different classes of consumers. With legalization, all use of cannabis will be personal use, but medical needs will be met by “medically-endorsed” providers and patients will be granted greater possession and cultivation rights.

Or, they could call me names on Facebook at 3 a.m. because I’ve been warning about this inevitability since 2009.

* Yes, I’m coining the collective noun for a group of haters – a grimace of haters.

Last week’s Radical Rant: A Weed By Any Other Name Would Smoke As Sweet

For all of Russ Belville’s writing, click here.

  1. It was way before 2009 that it dawned on me that medical marijuana laws were going to take selling an eighth from a misdemeanor sales charge to a federal felony for violating prescription laws and only full legalization was going to stop the bullshit. I was arrested in Washington state in 2001 for having more than 56 grams even though medical marijuana was legal, there I was, being booked into the county jail for the weekend. When Washington legalized fully I received a letter telling me the charges had been expunged. Anyone who doesn’t realize this, is a poser and a profiteer and an insult to people like me, who have been fighting and growing for the last twenty years.

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