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A Mississippi Stoner at 50

Posted on December 31 2017

North America’s largest legal/sanctioned cannabis farm turns 50 next year.  Growing Cannabis remains illegal at the Federal level, largely because the argument was made that it holds no medicinal value (neither THC nor CBD) and that the plant is mainly used for recreational drug use; serving as a “gateway.”  Never mind that all of this has been disproved.

What’s fascinating about the 50-year marker is that half a century ago, despite all these protestations, U.S. Government sanctioned a massive “pot farm” at the University of Mississippi.  Presumably due to its pharmacy program.

Moreover, the government patented THC and CBD.  That’s right: Our government owns the patent on the two key properties resulting from a plant they not only demonized but which remains “criminal” at the Federal level.  Our Federal government continues to list pot on its ‘most dangerous category of narcotics’. The drug continues to be classified as more dangerous than cocaine.

Let this percolate for a moment: our government simultaneously has a patent on the medicinal value of cannabis, while listing it on DEA’s Schedule I for drugs with “no medicinal or other redeeming values.”

Last year, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ended its nearly five-decade run as the monopoly holder on growing Cannabis for medical research – opening the door for researchers and pharmaceutical companies to grow marijuana outside the University of Mississippi’s heavily guarded facility.

So why now?   The move is aimed at increasing the amount and variety of cannabis plants available to scientists seeking to develop particular strains of the drug, to treat ailments.

It seems like the height of hypocrisy to continue criminalizing Cannabis growth and use (medically or recreationally) while profiting from the very thing you withhold. 

Fifty-years later, times are changing.  Peer-reviewed medical journals continue to prove the efficacy of Cannabinoids (and even THC) in treating of a variety of illnesses.  Recent studies cite Cannabis benefits in treating psychological issues like PTSD and sleep disorders.  Dropping growth restrictions ushers in new medical options so “watch this space.”

Meanwhile, what does this mean for the average “midnight toker”?  As of November 2016, both recreational and medicinal marijuana use is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.  Currently there are 29 states where medical marijuana is legal.

Chances are good that more states will follow suit: no less than 9 have upcoming ballots to legalize Cannabis use.

Polls and research continue to show rising support for cannabis legalization: 57% of U.S. adults say cannabis should be made legal, compared to just 32 percent a decade ago, according to a recent Pew study.

Supporters say the shift in attitude is in part thanks to successes in Colorado and Washington, the first states where voters approved recreational marijuana in 2014.

Ultimately individual states could drive chance in the Federal statues – contrary to the usual process: Proof that this is really a GRASS-roots effort.

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