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The Many Faces Of Marijuana In America


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The Many Different Faces Of Marijuana In America

Posted by CN Staff on June 12, 2013 at 12:13:48 PT

By Gene Demby

Source: National Public Radio

 

cannabis USA -- On Tuesday, Vermont moved to decriminalize the possession of marijuana for quantities up to an ounce, replacing potential prison time for arrests with fines.

Peter Shumlin, the state's governor, made a telling distinction between weed and "harder" drugs when he announced the move. "This legislation allows our courts and law enforcement to focus their limited resources more effectively to fight highly addictive opiates such as heroin and prescription drugs that are tearing apart families and communities," he said.

 

The idea that weed isn't that big a deal and that governments need to readjust their priorities is pretty common. There's little vocal anti-pot government outcry, no temperance movement analog for cannabis. Recent polls have found that a majority of Americans think marijuana should be legalized.

 

Even our mainstream faces of stoner culture are generally silly, harmless and amiable (Jeff Spicoli, Cheech & Chong, Harold & Kumar, and whatever Snoop is calling himself these days) except when they're revered and saintly (read: Bob Marley). On TV, there was Weeds, a dramedy about an upper-middle-class widow who starts selling marijuana to make ends meet. Change the drug to something else like heroin or meth, drugs with more sinister reputations, and it becomes something much darker. You'd pretty much have to go all the way back to Reefer Madness to find a widely seen film that portrayed pot as dangerous or threatening. (And the whole reason we all know about that movie is because the concerns at its center are often mocked as kitschy and histrionic.)

 

Mona Lynch, a professor at the University of California, Irvine who studies the criminal justice system, says that stereotypes of marijuana usage in popular culture don't come across as very threatening. "There's not a lot of uproar around marijuana [as] a crushing problem," she says.

 

But this image of weed use as benign recreation or banal nuisance doesn't square with another great fact of American life — the War on Drugs. And more and more, that War on Drugs means marijuana.

 

Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Criminal Law Reform Project, says that 10 years ago, marijuana possession arrests made up 37 percent of all drug arrests. And now? "Half of all drug arrests are now marijuana-related," he says — and 9 in 10 of those are for possession.

 

The focus of the continuing law enforcement battle on marijuana lands disproportionately on people of color. The ACLU crunched some Justice Department numbers on drug arrests, and released a much-discussed report last week on their findings. The upshot: African-Americans are four times as likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than whites, even though blacks and whites consume weed at about the same rate.

 

For blacks — and black men in particular — marijuana is a gateway drug into the criminal justice system.

 

"The thing that was shocking about the report was the pervasiveness, that this [disparity in arrests] is happening everywhere," Lynch tells me. "It's happening in small towns, big towns, urban and rural."

 

Both Edwards and Lynch say that part of the reason marijuana is getting more attention from law enforcement agencies is that police departments are being subsidized with lots of federal dollars to stop drugs, but the crack epidemic has since waned. "Institutions don't like to shrink," Lynch says. "It's actually a reverse kind of pattern — drug arrests are going up [even] as crime drops."

 

At the same time that marijuana's become a more central focus of the War on Drugs, there are plenty of business types who are already making their plans for selling marijuana after, uh, all the smoke clears. They're trying to give pot an altogether new face: as a widely available commercial product backed by big business. No one knows what that market might even look like quite yet, but it could be incredibly lucrative.

 

Might you be able to cop some weed at your supermarket behind the counter with cigarettes? Would your favorite coffee shop start selling some "extra special" lattes? What about an over-the-counter headache medicine packaged in a box with a little green leaf in the corner?

 

Seriously — it might not be that far-fetched.

 

Don Pellicer, a company that hopes to open marijuana stores in Washington and Colorado, is looking for investors. Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, was a guest speaker at a Don Pellicer event last week, and has said that he would grow marijuana if weren't against the law. "Once it's legitimate and legal, sure, I could do it," he told reporters. "I'm a farmer. Producers of all types can participate." (Fox, it's worth noting, used to run Coca-Cola in Mexico, and its sales jumped by 50 percent during his tenure.)

 

There are already vending machine companies working on cannabis-dispensing kiosks for retail stores for the people who don't want the hassle of humoring those talky connoisseur types. "The way we see it, when you walk into a shop, you don't need the expert or aficionado to help with selection," says the head of one such vending company. "The people who are using this in the recreational space — they know what they want, and they don't want to hear the whole spiel every time."

 

And there are all the industrial, non-psychoactive applications. Hemp fiber, which is especially strong, is already used in all sorts of textiles. One researcher told writer Doug Fine that a decade after weed became legal, a domestic hemp industry would sprout up in the United States to the tune of $50 billion a year — which would outpace the estimates of what smokable reefer would bring in.

 

"When America's 100 million cannabis aficionados (17 million regular partakers) are freed from dealers, some are going to pick up a six-pack of joints at the corner store before heading to a barbecue, and others are going to seek out organically grown heirloom strains for their vegetable dip," Fine wrote.

 

So now we have to reconcile the many different faces of marijuana — a jokey, pop-culture staple, a continuing fascination of law enforcement agencies whose attentions fall disproportionately on people of color, and the potential cash crop of a bright, green future.

 

Which of these will give way? Or will any of them?

 

Source: National Public Radio (US)

Author: Gene Demby

Published: June 12, 2013

Copyright: 2013 National Public Radio

Website: http://www.npr.org/

Contact: http://www.npr.org/contact/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/L01NLQUa

 

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There are restrictions on how much beer you are allowed to brew at home.  One hundred gallons in most states.  That's about 21 bottles of beer per week.   Most people i know that drink beer use more than that at their house.  Do we really want restrictions like that?  Home beer brewing is not a good model in my opinion.

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I suppose that is not all that much if it is a yearly total. As long as I didn't have more than 100 gallons at once, or turn my house into a speakeasy, who would know how much I brewed a year besides myself? I still like the article.

 

The difference was just for reference so people didn't think the discussion pertained to medical use in MI. I would like zero restrictions as well, don't see that in the next 5 years though.

Edited by OG Fire Beaster
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As long as I didn't have more than 100 gallons at once, or turn my house into a speakeasy, who would know how much I brewed a year besides myself?

 

The government will know, when they make you assign an UPC code to every plant like they're doing right now in Colorado.  Connect the dots, my friend, connect the dots.

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Well we were talking about beer, but yes plant count can be tracked by bar codes. That is not the same as weight though.

 

So what you're saying is, it's alright to break the law because you don't agree with it.  That's what the Duvall's thought too.  

 

How do they know how much you're growing?  They look.

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So what you're saying is, it's alright to break the law because you don't agree with it.  That's what the Duvall's thought too.  

 

How do they know how much you're growing?  They look.

i am not sure if he broke any Law it was not his grow he didn't grow it back when this happen no one knew that if you grow 12 and your wife grows 12 you would be charged with 24 and she will be charged for 24 also

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The discussion was in regards to recreational use and the comparison to home brewing. What I do in my home is no ones buisness, as long as I am not harming another. So yes I will ignore some laws in the proper situation. Ever went through a red light? Ever exceeded the speed limit? Ever shared prescription meds(not MJ) with a sick family member? There is a time and place for everything. By your line of reasoning people should not have helped escaped slaves, because it was illegal.

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Wow!  You are so wrong about so much stuff.  It was only illegal to help an escaped slave in the south.  There was a law passed that said if an escaped slave was caught in the north, he/she could be sent back to the place they escaped from. (Fugitive Slave Act of 1850)  There was no law to prosecute people helping the slaves in the north.

 

Don't you think Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass would have been arrested when they gave speeches in the north if it was illegal to help escaped slaves?

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You inserted the qualifier of the north, not me. Please don't change what I say to suit your needs. I am not wrong. Depending on your location and year there were many different laws. Some federal, some State. Sometimes comity was given, sometimes it was not. It was illegal for most people to help escaped slaves, even in the north, especially if the "property" owner could show proof.

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In the meth example, depending on the process, there is a very real danger of fire and chemical contamination of the surrounding areas. I would not personally ignore that law.

 

EDIT: The fire risk is far greater than Butane or other marijuana refinement methods. I don't think it meets my condition of not harming others.

Edited by OG Fire Beaster
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Maybe you could point out the circle for me? I said if I am not creating a danger for others I am for it and because of that some laws are appropriate to ignore in certain situations. I said meth labs are a danger to others. YOU said home growing is a danger to others, along the same lines as meth production. YOU said electrical wiring is a danger to others. The circle is not on my end.

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Are the restrictions for a single batch or is it an annual limit? This is in regards to recreational, not medical.

Your right my friend that is why I laugh when people say 'your going to be out of a job" when it gets legalized.  I just laugh right back at them because does anybody sere BELL's brewery hurting for business..?  Nope..they are killing it they cannot produce enough beer to meet demand. 

 

So I say once it is legalized and you can get a license to operate a facility regulated like a micro brew then those that have genetics and the master status on how to produce HIgh Quality will still be in business.  It will however weed out all the shippers, gangbangers, and amatuers trying to pass off poop. 

 

The big boys in Tobacco will surely step in and try to Corporatize the weed industry but they will have to SUCK some HIPPY DIYACK to get the best genetics.  And with the exception of guys like DNA, GReenHouse most of the smaller breeders will tell them to FUX off.

 

This is where the micro-grow comes into play..!!  People will always, and I mean always pay a premium to obtain a taste, smell or certain style of growing that is condusive the their individual lifestyle.

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Well said.

 

I think you'll even see investors that are willing to put up the money to get top quality craft growers up and running.

 

Also the federal brewing law is 100 gallons for an individual. If there are two or more people in the home then 200 gallons.

20 beers per week for my self is more than reasonable. If I'm brewing it's gonna be some crazy 10% lake erie monster kind of beer! Its not gonna be natural light.

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Well said.

 

I think you'll even see investors that are willing to put up the money to get top quality craft growers up and running.

 

Also the federal brewing law is 100 gallons for an individual. If there are two or more people in the home then 200 gallons.

20 beers per week for my self is more than reasonable. If I'm brewing it's gonna be some crazy 10% lake erie monster kind of beer! Its not gonna be natural light.

 

 

I believe you to be correct, OG. If I'm a brewer or a 'grower' I'm going to have on hand the MAX amount allowed by law at ALL times, and it will be the maximum strength allowed by law... after all... I'm a 'law abiding' citizen... always have been.

 

We just have to be sure the 'law' gives us at least 6 plants for personal use when it gets 'fully legal' here in Mich.

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