The “L” Word

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pplause to those who legalized cannabis in several Michigan cities
this November. With statewide and federal legalization arguably on the horizon,
we can begin to discuss solutions to issues created by simply exempting it from
the criminal code. Here are five big problems we can begin to fix when we
finally spring cannabis from legal purgatory:

Medical
Research

The feds
make it next to impossible to study cannabis, no doubt for fear that researchers
will discover its many medical uses. What a convenient way to prop up the fairy
tale that it is a “dangerous drug” with no medical benefit. More kids died from
eating peanut butter last year than from cannabis, and yet all of those
dangerous peanut farmers are walking among us. What gives? Cannabis is a viable
medicine, and it’s time we proved it.

Banking

Just so you
are aware of what kind of denial issues we are dealing with, I heard a state
police officer testify in Lansing that if we were to legalize dispensaries, the
state would be creating a dangerous problem because suddenly there would be
piles of cash everywhere. This was an $80 billion industry before the first
state decriminalized it. There were piles of cash then, there are piles of cash
now, and there will be piles of cash in the future. Banking will make this
industry and our communities immeasurably safer. 

Employment

I cannot
envision a time when you will be able to roll into work a la Fast Times at Ridgemont High and expect
to keep your job. However, legalizing cannabis will get rid of the absurd drug
testing, and employers will have to stop firing good people for evidence of
having used cannabis sometime in the recent past. They will also have to stop
using cannabis as an excuse to circumvent their obligations under the ADA. Bonus.

Contracts

Not the
sexiest issue, but of vital importance. Any contract, from a lease to a loan to
an insurance policy, that has as its basis as an illegal drug, has the
potential to be invalidated by a court. Businesses trying to negotiate their
way through this nascent industry face resistance incorporating, insuring,
protecting their trade names and resolving disputes. In order for this to be a
safe, regulated industry, its infrastructure must have a strong foundation, and
contracts are the building blocks of business. 

Law
Enforcement

People who
started their sentences with “the prison industrial complex” always sounded
like conspiracy nuts to me until I started getting a good, close look at what
policing for profit does, especially when paired with the horrifying
militarization of our law enforcement that has inexplicably become so commonplace.
The prospect of easy money has corrupted good officers and made targets of the
non-violent cannabis community. The Constitution that was gutted after 9-11 is
now routinely ignored and police terrorize and steal from citizens with
impunity because they tell the public that patients are drug dealers. Legalization
will de-incentivize cannabis as the low hanging fruit and refocus law
enforcement on real, actual crime.

Other top
contenders:

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Guns, custody disputes,
hemp products and Michigan’s economy. Is it 2016 yet?

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