To hell with populist will, bureaucrats in Colorado and Washington are dragging their feet or outright banning the sale of recreational cannabis in select cities.
Following the passage of permitted recreational marijuana use in both states last year, a flurry of local ordinances hit the books banning sales inside city limits, or putting a moratorium on allowing it. Over 100 Colorado cities have done this – nine of the most populous ten in the state.
In Washington, regulators are considering dismantling their medical marijuana regulations to enable taxing patients under the new recreational use tax scheme being devised. That’s not at all what voters intended, but accountants won’t ignore the revenue that can be generated from dying people using a plant that’s been around tens of millions of years longer than hominids.
Not only has marijuana been shown to cut tumor growth in cancer patients, improve mood in depressives, reduce nausea and provide safe pain relief, it’s also believed to reduce cocaine cravings in addicts and acts as a neuroprotectant with therapeutic value in treating Alzheimer’s and psychosis.
The British biotech firm GW Pharmaceuticals provides US cannabis patients with Sativex, and recently gained FDA approval to provide researchers with a cannabis concoction aimed at stopping seizures in epileptic children. The new formula, GWP42006 (to be marketed as Epidiolex), excludes all THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid favored by recreational users.
Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary, Weed, highlighted the story of 6-year-old Charlotte Fiji, who suffered 300 seizures a week. Finally, her mother administered a liquid form of marijuana high in CBD and low in THC. The effects were immediate and dramatic. Charlotte didn’t suffer a seizure that night and now only suffers a few a week.
Three different Investigational New Drug studies have been approved using GW’s blend, but all must pass muster with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has a history of blocking FDA-approved cannabis studies.
After decades of denial, in April 2011, the FDA permitted a cannabis study aimed at post traumatic stress disorder in veterans, allowing for home use. That study was held up by NIDA, despite that over a third of all vets suffer from PTSD.
While unelected bureaucrats drag their feet, medical marijuana supporters continue to organize. Recently, Mormon moms joined the fray to demand MMJ for epileptic kids.
Across the big pond, Ireland’s lower House will vote on a bill in the next two weeks to decriminalize the herb and allow for cannabis pubs. Introduced by colorful politician, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, it is not expected to pass.
Flanagan built his career on pushing for weed freedom, once mailing over 200 joints to Irish politicians. Documentaries have covered his antics, including The Life and Crimes of Citizen Ming. When elected to Ireland’s parliament in 2011, he kept his promise to donate half his $130,000 annual salary to civic projects.
Marijuana is safer than alcohol, a cultural and medical reality that control freak rule-makers have yet to fully grasp. But with the US moving closer to full decriminalization, a more sane and evidenced-based policy is finally emerging.
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Rady Ananda is the creator of Food Freedom News and COTO Report, Rady Ananda’s work has appeared in several online and print publications, including four books. With a B.S. in Natural Resources from Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture, Rady tweets @geobear7 and @RadysRant.