People often cite paranoia as a reason they stay away from cannabis. I've only felt this maybe two or three times in my whole life, and generally it does the opposite for me—taking the raw edge off of anxiety. But with the weirdness of the news these days, it's not only typical to feel paranoid—it's pragmatic.
Strap on your diving helmet. The elections just happened. We're going deep.
Four states legalized recreational cannabis for users over the age of 21 this week, despite the continued federal ban. That brings the total up to nine states. That's 20 percent of the population! (Are you freaking out? I recommend one hit of a talkative sativa and one high five to a stranger every twenty minutes.)
The sinniest place in America voted to legalize by nine whole points (54.5 percent in favor). The initiative legalized the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis or an eighth of an ounce of cannabis concentrate for citizens over the age of 21. The number of retail cannabis stores will be limited according to a county's population. The law goes into effect Jan. 1. Soon, we'll be surrounded.
Starting Dec. 15, Mass. citizens will be able to consume cannabis legally, and retail stores will be able to open in 2018. Voters approved the measure (53.6 percent in favor) despite opposition from the state's governor and the mayor of Boston. The bill allows for the possession, use and purchase of up to one ounce of cannabis.
It was a tight race—so tight that people were hemorrhaging two days later. After pleas for recounts—amidst the gnashing of teeth, a governor's threats (more on that later) and a slim margin (50.2 percent in favor)—the Associated Press finally called it. Maine voters passed the legalization of cannabis for adults. Anyone 21 or older will now be allowed to be in possession of up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis. Retail marijuana shops and social clubs can now open throughout the state. Supporters hope to see cannabis in retail establishments by 2018.
And the big cage-rattler is Proposition 64 in the lovely state of California. Whether you want to admit it or not, the real seat of American power lies in the Hollywood Hills, where the films are made. All those hip, beautiful movie stars are going to be openly smoking cannabis, dumping cash into the industry, quietly eroding the demonizing stereotypes through the constant media barrage that has already begun …
By a full 12.5 points(55.8 percent in favor), voters approved the use and possession of up to 1 ounce of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrate for adults over the age of 21. Although retail stores will likely not open until 2018, state officials have pointed out that it is perfectly legal to (ahem) share cannabis.
Come on, Arizona. Really? The measure to legalize recreational cannabis failed (52.1 percent opposed) in our dusty neighbor state. The Phoenix New Times blames wealthy backers of the anti-legalization group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), who ran an apparently successful ad campaign against Proposition 205.
And note who's missing from the list. Is it a place where the economy is rupturing and poverty snakes through everyday life? Where the education system is so ugly, the entire country talks about it? Where cops are hated and feared by the average citizen? Where everyone leaves and no one arrives?
Shame on you, New Mexico. Quit being such a slow-witted dullard.
Trump. (Are you freaking out? I recommend a good, heady indica. Numbness is what the doctor ordered.)
Yes, and cannabis proponents will tell you that there could be some trouble ahead. Last month, the governor of Maine threatened to mount a court challenge if voters approved recreational use of cannabis (he still might), and Trump seems to be surrounding himself with legal toughs like Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie—all of whom have taken strong anti-legalization stances in the past. Considering Trump's “Law-and-Order” talk, his Justice Department could easily be made up of anti-cannabis goons. That could spell doom for these freewheeling days of prosperity and protection from the threat of jackbooted thugs kicking down the doors of dispensaries and having their way with our medicine.
But I try not to be one of those Chicken Little types, when I can avoid it anyway. I keep looking at all those newly legalized states, and thinking about how many times I've heard the term “states’ rights” in the last year. I have the feeling there's going to be enough trouble going around without the old boy wanting to take on 20 percent of the country and an industry that makes billions of dollars—if he was even inclined to do such a thing.
I'm also crossing my fingers and toes and praying to the cannabis gods that one day, he'll do something really awful and will have to fall back on Old Trusty.
“Mr. President, would you like to respond to the allegation that the man seen defecating on camera at the Lincoln Memorial was indeed yourself?”
“I ... Uh … Pot's legal! Leave me alone, you hippies!”