The Evil Weed

27 Apr

Before all these new laws were passed, I used to joke that I only take the legal drugs: alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. I still don’t take marijuana, not for lack of access, but personal preference. But I’m still concerned that it’s still a federal crime.

Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I Narcotic, which puts it in the same category as heroin, peyote, ludes, and ecstasy. For those who are not familiar with drug categories (as I wasn’t), these were established by the Drug Enforcement Agency which was founded by Richard Nixon back on July 7th, 1973. (Fun fact: he resigned one month and one day later.) However, the former president had a real passion for breaking the drug culture in America, which is how this whole thing started. See when Elvis became a federal narcotics agent.

So the newly founded DEA has to ask itself the question, “What should we focus on?” After all, there are lots of drugs out there. Congress categorizes them–you can check them out yourself–during the 1970 Controlled Substance Act. So they focus on the top ones… and make doctors fill out extra forms for the rest.

The difference between Schedule I and Schedule II appears to be “does it have a accepted medical use?” Schedule II meds are just as bad, just more useful. This includes the big winners in the abuse column like oxycontin, meth, cocaine… and interestingly enough, Adderall.

Then things get more interesting with Schedule III, which includes Tylenol with more than 90 mg of codeine. So you want this over the counter, you have to go to Canada, where they have the 222 mg of codeine. Also, anabolic steroids fall under this category. Then Schedule IV is “drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence” like Ambien. As we learned from Tiger Woods, “low” does not mean “never.”

Like many federal laws, such as abortion, when advocates get frustrated trying to go through Congress, they go through the states. There is now 15 states where it completely legal, six states where it completely illegal, and the other 29 are in various states of legality. This can make it very frustrating if you’re a casual user, a serious user, or a businessman dealing in hemp. Take Colorado, completely legal, which borders on Nebraska, where it is decriminalized. It’s not legal there, just not going to throw a possession charge if they find a joint or vape pen on you. What they will do–as my sister who lives on the Colorado-Nebraska border will tell you–is bust ANY truck that is carrying a trailer full of marijuana. It may be passing through, it may be reaching the dealers in the Cornhusker state, but it’s busted when it crosses the border.

The DEA was busting California dispensaries just five years ago, where it was legal by state law, but as mentioned, illegal under federal law. I guess we can thank the Trump administration for that… also, there’s now a lot more states where it’s legal, so the DEA may not care about state laws, but they care about public opinion. Too much bad press means they lose funding; see Border Patrol. That’s why there’s the “prescription” fig leaf; if a doctor says you can have it, well, no problem, right? After all, that’s why doctors have licenses to prescribe under the DEA.

So there’s this strange dichotomy with weed being legal and illegal at the same time. Can’t take it on a plane (TSA is federal), can’t take it on a train (Amtrak Police are federal), but you can smoke it at home. At a time where smoking tobacco is socially disdained, smoking marijuana is preferable. This is ridiculous to have this double standard. Of course, I could be wrong–what do you think? Sure, marijuana isn’t addictive, but it can lead to a lifestyle that where do you don’t do anything else. Is there a reason we need to keep focus on this drug? Let me know in the comments below! Then check out one of my books; my characters aren’t usually addicts. However, if $1.99 is going to put a dent in your marijuana budget, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

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