The Crazy, Unfair Ways People Are Being Screwed by Using Legal Pot

(ALTERNET)   In September, 2011, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms banned state law-abiding medical cannabis patients from owning firearms. A bureaucratic decider simply swiped away hundreds of thousands of Americans’ Second Amendment rights by way of an added item on a pre-sale questionnaire.

Using an ancient herb as recommended by your doctor, one that any law enforcer will tell you makes people less aggressive? Sorry. Whacked on Oxycontin? Fire away.

My friend Carl, a Vietnam veteran, concealed handgun permit holder, political conservative of the John Wayne school and New Mexico medical cannabis patient, is apoplectic about the policy. “I can’t believe I lose my rights because I’m receiving treatment. I defended this country’s freedoms.”

This is just one example of key ancillary details that need to be fixed as America’s Longest War limps to its federal demise. Another is arbitrary limits on or zero tolerance of bloodstream THC when driving, even by locally-Kosher cannabis fans: if you legally used cannabis three weeks ago at the Ziggy Marley concert in Washington, you can, absurdly, be found to be impaired today.

In addition to the mining of the harbor that such unacceptably policy represents among those sore losers, the retreating Drug Warriors, this again shows the risk that any cannabis enjoyer faces. These unscientific THC policies must be squashed in courts and state houses, and fast.

The risk list continues. On my January flight in Honolulu to testify in support of pending industrial and social cannabis legalization in the Aloha State, the grey haired 59-year-old local fellow sitting next to me, Jeb, a construction site manager, had a sadly common story for me when he found out where I was heading that day.

“Tell the folks at the statehouse that I just lost my job after 23 years because THC showed in my system,” Jeb told me. “I had smoked at home on a Saturday night two weeks earlier. I don’t drink. I’ve never come to work impaired. Never even had a sick day. My work record was so impeccable that my supervisor apologized to me. He said, ‘we work for a company that will fire its best employee for pot, first time.’ I might lose my house. I’m flying to Oahu to meet with my lawyer but he told me that if it’s the policy it’s the policy.”

Not in my America. The America that resides on what I deeply believe to be on the healthier, safer side of history. The America of the Bill of Rights.

The bottom line: responsible adult cannabis users should no longer have to hide any more than responsible alcohol users do. As if to hammer home this point, when our flight landed, Jeb had some parting words for me. “Tell (the legislative committee) how deeply cannabis is embedded in Hawaiian culture. Tell them this is the only law I break. I don’t even drive over the speed limit.”

I did. I told the state’s House Judiciary Committee about Jeb during my testimony. Social legalization, incidentally, had a lot of momentum in Hawaii last session. The speaker of the house, Joe Souki (D), told me he thinks it’ll happen next session. From Florida to Maui, everyone knows the Drug War is ending. There’s no reason America’s 100 million cannabis users should be dealing with the life-upending administrative nonsense.

And yet they are. Even without a drug testing company fraud scandal emerging in San Diego this week, even without the revelation that some of the former DEA chiefs who are lobbying so hard against the Drug Peace in fact profit from their roles in drug testing companies, the Sniff Your Pee era is simply misguided – it’s unnecessary, intrusive and downright un-American. Work is about performance. Cannabis isn’t keeping America from being competitive. In fact, it’s probably helping return us to competitiveness, in the creative fields of the Digital Age. But my research into the role of practical cannabis use in Silicon Valley is a whole other column.


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