Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'The green rush' — managing marijuana

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM

I've said it a million times: Legalizing pot is one of the best things our government can do. Why? It's beneficial in numerous ways — it's calming, it helps ease pain, it helps extremely sick people eat, our government needs the tax revenue and we spend way too much money on the nonsensical "war on drugs." And, don't forget, it's a boon for small businesses and hemp, it's non-drug relative, is one of the most useful crops on the planet.

In order for this to happen, I truly believe all you tokers out there need to come out of the closet. Statistics show that it's middle class white folks who are smoking, while minorities are most often busted. Whitebread America is driving the demand for a product they love while allowing everyone else to suffer for it. That's not unusual, but it is seriously hypocritical. If you folks would stop pretending like you don't enjoy a fat hootie every now and again, we might be able to convince our legislators — who are ever so interested in our votes and our money — to legalize grass.

Who's with me?

OK, I'll start: I smoke pot most days both for pleasure and to ease back pain. In fact, my pain specialist says she wishes she could prescribe marijuana to her patients because it really does help ease their symptoms, and it's safer than the legal opiates she prescribes. In my family, excluding my grandparents, pot is not considered bad. And, the vast majority of the people I know either smoke pot or don't care if other people do. Meanwhile, I'm still a productive taxpayer who's never been arrested for any crime. Imagine.

Now, it's your turn: Get your asses out of the ganja closet and let's get this magical herb legalized.

There are people working on the impending "green rush." From The New York Times:

It is being called the green rush. With more states moving to legalize medical marijuana, the business of growing and dispensing it is booming, even as much of the rest of the economy struggles.

Now, flush with financial clout, and with their eyes on pushing Congress to further loosen laws, medical marijuana industry leaders are forming a national trade association. While there are smaller, local trade groups, organizers around the country say this will be the first business organization working on the national level.

Based in Washington, the group, the National Cannabis Industry Association, will focus primarily on lobbying, but will also help medical marijuana businesses navigate a patchwork of laws that differ depending on location.

“This is an industry that is emerging — from the dispensaries to the ancillary businesses that are now coming out of the shadows,” said Aaron Smith, a medical marijuana advocate in Phoenix and the group’s executive director. “While there is good work being done, there isn’t anyone out there representing the industry’s interests directly.”

Read the rest of this article, by Dan Frosch, here.

A brief history of weed:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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