a hopeful time

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

August 4, 2020

This article was first published in Cronic Magazine in March of 2019.

 Cronic’s “The End of Prohibition” article was circulated in 2013.  It was a hopeful time, indeed.  America was experiencing its first state to provide “recreational” access to Cannabis.
Magazines were filled with many smiles – and puffs – as dispensary owners proudly displayed their wares for the TV cameras.  News correspondents touted ridiculous profits and pointed to the long lines of patrons, sometimes stretching for blocks – all excited, eager to make their first legal purchase, no matter the cost.
A wide range of products were becoming available. So many choices of flower – indicas, sativas and virtually every form of hybrid. There were also tinctures, salves, gummies, candy bars. Seemingly, so much to choose from.
There were jubilant tales of new-found tax revenue for schools and stories of miraculous healings filling social media, even invading national news – all seeming to validate the circus unfolding before us.  
It seemed that soon, Cannabis would be available to everyone. It would be a household name.

Well, we got that partially right.

As those of us, “old timers” can testify, it had been a long and difficult road. Our longevity may have been due to our craftiness, but it’s taken its toll. Many have fallen along the way.  Most everyone that I have known with any whiskers in the game at all was or is a felon – including me.  We were well overdo for some form of good news. So many had fought so very hard to see our right to grow, possess and consume Cannabis.
The very thought that Cannabis was finally going mainstream – well, it was mind-blowing.

Though years have passed, prohibition still lingers on.  It’s been six years – 18 years since the passage of Colorado’s “medical”. Perhaps, amid the excitement, we deceived ourselves. 
Apparently, the world had not grown quite as much as we thought.

But why? Why isn’t Cannabis completely legal by now?

With so much that we have seen and learned, wasn’t REAL legalization what we had all been working for… and praying for… and going to jail for?
One would think, surely by now we would have attained that goal. How could we have grown so very little – in fact, regressed?
It scares me to think that there are still so many who don’t realize, that amid all the hype, we still haven’t quite crossed the finish line.

A lot has happened since that magazine cover.  History, apparently, has not played out exactly as we planned.  It appears that the vernacular raced ahead of the law.  Words like “legal”, have been stretched – practically to the point of breaking – as activists, “entrepreneurs” and profiteers raced to cash in on a dream that hadn’t quite materialized.  There was much that wasn’t anticipated. 
Without a complete repeal, “legal” was more of a projection, a possible goal, than a reality. What’s more, the vision wasn’t the same for all of the players.  Investors and stockholders weren’t concerned with the altruistic dreams of treating cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating disease. For them, ending prohibition was really not financially equitable. Reality had apparently set in for the less than philanthropic. The number one priority became making money – a lot of it – and fast!  …before it all went away.

A good example would be the CBD craze.  There is hardly a convenience mart or liquor store in the nation that doesn’t sell some form of CBD now.  There’s even talk about putting it into mainstream energy drinks and soda pop.
Media really latched onto the fallacy that CBD “was the medicine in marijuana that didn’t get you high.”  It’s obvious that the profiteers envisioned quite a revenue stream with the airing of CNN’s medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta’s hour-long specials touting CBD’s miraculous results in treating pediatric seizure disorder.
CBD was safe. We didn’t have to talk about the “high”.  Of course, what Midwesterners were buying at their local liquor stores was far from what was being used to treat chronic epilepsy in Colorado, but it didn’t seem to matter.  People all over this country were quite obviously hungry for an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, no matter their illness or its severity.  They would take a chance.  And of course, the reality was…and is… that “Cannabis is variations on the good”.  In other words, even an inferior Cannabis product can have therapeutic benefit. It’s hard to ruin something so beneficial.

What has been confusing, though, has been the growing number of restrictions to personal use. Quietly, quite under the radar, the rights of the individual have been eroding.  Personal cultivation and possession – Cannabis caregiving in general – has been, quite covertly diluted and legislated into oblivion. 
Sheriff’s departments and municipal police departments across Colorado have corporately focused on busting caregivers and home grows across the state. Even those acquitted, have found court cost, legal fees, loss of property and monetary funds to be devasting. Many of those who were with us during the early years have given up and left…broke and discouraged.

Medical or Recreational?
It’s quite obvious that Colorado, like most states with a Cannabis program, is phasing out their medical program in favor of a retail, recreational industry.  The industry, and lawmakers have spoken and turned a deaf ear to the poor and the sick. Sure, they were a part of the equation, but their worth has fallen considerably among the “bean counters”.  What is in their crosshairs today is an industry divided between the pharmaceutical and recreational Cannabis industry, but still safely at arm’s reach of the personal consumer.

Throughout this incredible Cannabis odyssey, we have heard a multitude of science expounding about its lack of toxicity and its medical efficacy. I have witnessed tumors shrinking – many times – I’ve even photographed it
I’ve spoken to thousands who, either they or a loved one, had benefitted from Cannabis. Time has indeed only added to our numbers. I have been a patient now for over twenty-one years.
With science and anecdotal evidence so easily within our reach, it’s hard to excuse our lawmakers for their apparent misguided priorities.

I was in Walmart a few weeks ago. Shortly after the state of Colorado granted the sale of “regular” beer to merchants outside of liquor stores.  That’s when I saw this.

Endless pallets of beer. Stretched down the aisle through groceries, children’s clothing and sporting goods.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m half Danish. I like my beer.  But, here we are.  In what is supposed to be the most Cannabis progressive state in America…and the state is granting greater freedoms to the producers of toxins than they are to those working with a proven nontoxic treatment for cancer?  What’s wrong with this picture? 

As long as lawmakers create and amend law base upon their own paranoia, the whims of law enforcement and the “marijuana industry”, our future Cannabis freedoms will be plagued with injustices, particularly regarding our nation’s most vulnerable, the sick and the poor.

Mark Pedersen has been a Cannabis educator for over eleven years and a patient for over two decades. He has dedicated his life to counseling the chronically and terminally ill. With over 200 video interviews on YouTube, magazine articles and appearances, Mark continues to strive for greater awareness of this miraculous healing food. An author and consultant for REAL legalization initiatives, he continues to advocate for universal access throughout the nation and the world.

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