In Cannabis Law, What’s in a Compromise?

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

March 29, 2022

I’ve been doing this a long time. Too long.  For those of us who have dedicated our lives to this…well, let’s just say, it has a way of making one a bit cynical. Over the last sixteen years, I have seen and heard far more about the Cannabis reform movement than anyone would ever need or want to know.  Believe me when I say, much of it I would just as soon forget…(if only I could).
One thing that I have seen repeatedly through these many years is

a whole Hell of a lot of compromise.  

Compromise with lawmakers, religious leaders, law enforcement, Cannabis investors, and worst of all, Cannabis reform organizations, …  And in all of this, maybe 10% was done to improve the quality of life for the Cannabis consumer.  Virtually ALL compromise that I have seen across this country – to date – was done in the name of “industry building“. Perhaps more correctly, “wealth-accumulating“… for a select few. 

But among the “well meaning”, with every new year, there were new people, expounding on how EVERYONE who came before just didn’t get it.  There was always a new generation of activists and, according to them, they alone somehow knew the right mix of compromise to push THEIR bill through. Of course, in just about every case, their effort was comprised of recopying the offerings from the previous years with little or no changes or original thought.
Same ole restrictions…same ole penalties.

Kind of reminds one of the definition of insanity, doesn’t it? (Doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting a different result).

There’s no getting around it, change is hard. Everyone wants to see Cannabis available to all, but no one want to make the the hard choices. Sometimes, the hardest choice is NOT to compromise. Every year for the last ten years, there was yet another young pothead who thought he was the very first one to tell me,

“…You have to have an age limit in your bill. No one’s gonna sign it without one.”

And every year, I would attempt to tell them, “You have to petition somewhere other than bars and NORML meetings. AND, most of all,

“you need to be PROPERLY educated.”

 Then they REALLY get pissed. 
The loudest ones think that they are Cannabis experts… simply because they like to get high. As if getting stoned and arguing with people means they’re educated. GEEZ… I have been a patient for over twenty-five years, and an educator for fifteen…and I’m STILL learning profound things about Cannabis, just about every day, but seriously, if you at least understood the premise that Cannabis is NONTOXIC, and actually believed it, I would think you would at least have the confidence to talk to strangers about it. But to do that very accurately, you have to actually READ. You have to LEARN.
Unfortunately, No amount of begging can get them to actually read “Cannabis Restoration”, or any of the other bills and initiatives that have been posed.  They spend hours and hours of reading gossip on social media, taking the words of profiteers as Gospel, but they can’t sit for 30 minutes and read proposed law that will DIRECTLY impact their lives.

I have to say, as the years have passed, the Midwest “pot activists” have increasingly drawn more lines from “Cannabis Restoration“, as is evident in their more recent filings.  Undoubtedly in response to pressure from the general public. The people want the manipulation and persecution to end, once and for all.
The profiteers aren’t even denying anymore that they have been using my words.  But, I really don’t mind… if only they would copy them COMPLETELY. Then, ALL Missourians would be free from persecution – not just a select few.  Imagine what that would be like to NOT carry that fear around anymore. Imagine being able to treat yourself – with Cannabis that you grew freely like any other food – like holistic medicine. And not have to be afraid that cops were going to bust your door in on some technicality.
Imagine what it would be like to stockpile your surplus Cannabis – like a real farmer would do. Under current Cannabis law, you can’t do that. …not legally.
If Cannabis were truly legal, we could form COOPs – so neighbors could grow together and take care of each other. I witnessed a few COOPs in different parts of the country, but none of them were actually legal. Wouldn’t it be something if they were?

And the industry that would support a REAL Cannabis market… Wouldn’t it be nice if “regular” people would be able to take part, instead of just having to sit by as recreational pot profiteers and investors” move in and take over?
During my seven years in Colorado, I witnessed several times as “chain” stores would muscle-in, destroying the “mom-n-pop” stores. The big chains told us it was inevitable, but the small shops that lost everything just thought Colorado had betrayed them. I would have to agree.
I personally have nothing against a prosperous Cannabis industry. I would just like to see everyone have the same opportunity, without fees and regulations that make it impossible to the average person.

There are those who think industrial hemp is a completely different thing, but hemp is just another name for Cannabis. Fifteen years ago, it was ALL called hemp. The fact is, only if Cannabis was completely legal would our hemp and CBD farmers be able to truly grow it like any other agricultural crop – without restraints (without compromise) – in the quantities required to fulfill it’s plethora of renewable uses (food, building supplies, plastics, etc.). As long as draconian laws regarding THC continue on the books (and they still do, in every state), our nation will never reach its “hemp” potential.

Unfortunately, the profiteers aren’t quite ready to embrace REAL legalization… not completely. Where they are now, their profits are protected (at least for a little while longer). As a Schedule I drug, they’re safe in their special niche.  And with law enforcement serving as their personal mercenaries, keeping the general public in check…in fear… Well, we can’t exactly call that “legal“, now can we?
As things are now, personal cultivation is hugely limited – home growers have to “walk a fine line” – a finer line, if they choose to be “caregivers“…) or risk fines, even imprisonment. The profiteers would much rather see consumers tied to dispensaries and their recreational products and inflated prices – as long as possible, if not indefinitely.  
The profiteers have a very narrow, narcissistic view of what legalization should look like. In their eyes, It should serve them, and them alone.

The CSL and “The MORE Act”

A few words about the the “Controlled Substance List“. Every state has one… and they are all independent of the National Controlled Substance List., though the majority of them mirror the national list. Most every one lists Cannabis as a Schedule I, just like heroin.

Cannabis Restoration” would remove Cannabis entirely from Missouri’s CSL.

The much touted “MORE Act” would remove Cannabis from the national list as well. By removing it from the Controlled Substances list, Cannabis would no longer be a drug. It would once again be a food. That alone would be a hugely important accomplishment. But, what our Congress people and national “pot” activist organizations AREN’T saying is what harm this Act would do.
The problems with the “MORE Act” are quite similar to what we see with virtually all state Cannabis reform… but the “Act” doesn’t stop there. It goes on to create a few more problems of its own. Read my article.

The “MORE Act” basically imposes much of the same constraints on Cannabis as it suffered as a Schedule I drug. Bigoted, deceitful mandates on Cannabis are bad enough when dealing with state law. Federal law is far more difficult to change.
The most dangerous thing about this “Act” is how it opens the door to manipulation of food products outside of the Controlled Substance List. If Cannabis, a then nontoxic food, could be singled out for prejudicial taxation, and restrictions on possession and consumption, could this one day be applied to other products (other foods) that, like Cannabis, present little or no harm, but could prove quite lucrative for some if controlled?

MORE Taxes
The “MORE Act” imposes a 5% Federal excise tax. That’s on top of whatever state and local taxes that may already exist. That’s forever, no matter if state law changes.
Do you remember the other name for an “excise tax“? That’s right, it’s a “sin tax“. That’s what you put on a substance that you wish to discourage its use. You know…like cigarettes and alcohol. Things that can hurt you. But NEVER on a food.
“MORE” creates this tax to pay for it’s bloated new Federal department, it’s many new employees and a host of programs that are SUPPOSED to benefit minorities. You’ll have to read my article to see just how twisted it all is.

Again, it’s vitally important that you REALLY read the laws that affect you.

LESS Expungement
The “MORE Act” includes “records expungement“, but only (maybe) after a “Federal District” has conducted its own “comprehensive review” and made its “own determinations“. You see, there is no recognition by the law that the Federal Government was EVER in the wrong by instituting these laws originally. But be sure, guilt is MOST CERTAINLY still implied.
Individuals could file a motion for expungement, but the final judgement rests with the court.  All of this means legal fees, time off from work and time… lots of time spent proving one’s innocence for something no longer…and never should have been a crime.

Even after all that, one’s records would NOT be destroyed, but merely sealed. A court order can make it all quite real all over again. Implying that the records would be wiped was not an oversight. I would, however, call it intentional.

But I digress… The fact is,

Current Cannabis law is not sustainable.

It doesn’t matter how much you “compromise“. You can’t have it both ways. Cannabis cannot be available to everyone who wants – and more importantly – who needs it when the law conflicts with itself. No amount of compromise can change that. Cannabis shrinks cancerous tumors and its a neuroprotectant, and yet, in so called, “legal” states, budtenders are required to include cards with every Cannabis sale that claim harm to children and pregnant women. It doesn’t matter that we have used Cannabis for years to treat pediatric cancers and stop infant seizures. Or that pregnant moms have used Cannabis for hundreds of years to treat morning sickness and to help ensure a less troublesome and safe pregnancy.
I guess Ignoring these truths is just part of the “compromise“.

The profiteers, in their greedy attempt to control Cannabis consumers, have neglected the fact that people are learning. People are absorbing the trickle of truth that’s making its way to them. They’re seeing the lies, from the government and the recreational “pot industry”. Even in the absence of REAL Cannabis education, the people are teaching themselves. And as I have been stating publicly now for 15 years, once the people know the truth,

They will demand nothing less than REAL legalization.

If you don’t already know what REAL legalization is or how it’s different from the many offerings we have seen across this country, checkout “Cannabis Restoration Plain and Simple“. Unlike most every other bill or initiative, it’s quite short and to the point, so it’s not a hard read.

Well, as those of you who follow my writing already know, a lack of an age limit and elimination of DUI for Cannabis users are the two most challenged points regarding my initiative. Actually the only ones who have had a problem with ANY part of my initiative were “activists”…who, by the way, were involved with competing initiatives.
Truly, I don’t have any idea why anyone who understands the Endocannabinoid system, even marginally, could justify an age limit or tolerate the injustices of a Cannabis DUI law, or, for that matter, find a “compromise” with either.

First, and perhaps foremost, you cannot create a restrictive mandate (a law) without incorporating a penalty and a means to enforce that penalty.

mandate > penalty > enforced penalty

Curiously, “pot” activists don’t seem to have a problem creating penalties for Cannabis consumers. I would think that a sensible person would have a quandary with penalizing the innocent. What penalty(s) would you impose on the possession and consumption of a substance that does NO HARM and in fact, is GOOD for you?

But, What About the Children?

I would be one of the first people to state just how important it is to keep alcohol and prescription drugs away from young people and to properly educate them regarding why one should avoid them. But that in no way should reflect on the Cannabis user. Since Cannabis is nontoxic, keeping it away from our young people would be a personal, family choice. And if that’s the case, I can understand that. The fact is, if you are a Christian parent, you already know how to handle this, or you should.

Parental Guidance.

Perhaps my solution sounds a bit simplistic to some, but that’s actually how it’s outlined in the Bible.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Taking responsibility for the way one’s own child is raised and being accountable for their behavior is paramount to child rearing, or at least, it should be. And that should be followed with trust, because our children may be immature, but they’re not stupid. They can learn from us.
I’ve read the Bible through several times and I just don’t recall anywhere in there that it mandates law enforcement or the courts are to manage our children. That’s OUR job. And if we do a good job, it should be a reasonable expectation to believe that, when our children are grown, they will exercise,

Personal Accountability.

Parental guidance – when we are children. Personal Accountability – when we are grown. I believe we as Americans, as humans, should have the right to determine our own destiny and how we should behave when it comes to substances like Cannabis. That also goes for the values we instill in our children. I believe quite simply that most people are good and understand innately the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

It all seems so insane. The law was created to protect us. To help us all be able to live peacefully and productively with each other. It was never supposed to be like this. Our forefathers believed as I do that the most important rules for life were never meant to be drafted into physical laws. They exist within us. Christians say that God’s law is not written on paper or stone, but upon our hearts.
In other words, we KNOW what is right in order to live and thrive with our neighbors. We should not have to require a legal mandate and threats of punishment in order to do what is right.

REAL Legalization

Is REAL legalization inevitable?  Absolutely. Only problem is, as long as it tarries, the suffering will have to be endured. Of course, it won’t be the rich who pay the price. It never is. The poor, the sick and the disabled always take the brunt when corrupt lawmakers and greedy profiteers are in charge.

When the people only have bad choices at the ballot box, there is no freedom. No democracy. Just Fascism. Politicians have known since the beginning of their existence that they can control the vote. By only offering their constituents just enough to get them to vote for what THEY want, they can maintain the semblance of Democracy. It’s only a veneer, but in this 21st century, that appears to be enough.
The profiteer-backed “pot reformers” have played this game – just like the politicians – for years. Literally replicating the high jinx of our crooked lawmakers, as they dangle freedom before our eyes, then jerking it away.
I guess we could wait for all the profiteers and politicians to “get there’s”. Of course, by then it will be too late for many of us. So many that came to me through the years had so little time. Those battling late stage cancer issues were in a totally different league than the average recreational user. So disheartening that healthy adult users almost always end up being the spokespeople for the sick. They ultimately use the hardships of those who are suffering as their reason for creating their money-making ventures.
Seems kinda twisted to me.

But what is really in a compromise?

Well, the general idea is, you give up some things, and in turn you get to keep some things.

What virtually EVERY Cannabis reform bill and initiative offers is, very expensive, limited access to Cannabis. What they expect you to agree to are:

  • a strict age limit,
  • a predatory DUI (Driving Under the Influence) law, that preys on ALL Cannabis consumers
  • an Indecisive and divisive amnesty clause (rewards attorneys and the court while denying most Cannabis consumers)
  • fines and arrests (business as usual)
  • prison time (for those who don’t adhere to their prohibitionist rules)
  • loss of personal freedom (Cannabis consumers should be used to this by now, right?)
  • discrimination (if you use Cannabis, you’re a criminal)
  • civil forfeiture (law enforcement will continue to take whatever they want)
  • discrimination on the jobsite (employers can punish and/or fire based on Cannabis use)
  • discrimination with housing (rent refusals and evictions based on Cannabis use)

Is it still a compromise when there’s more giving than taking?

The profiteers don’t care what Missourians want. The welfare of the people has never entered their minds. All they can think about is how they can get richer off of “recreational pot”.  That’s all that has ever mattered to them. When they “compromise“, they’re bargaining with that which was never their own. And in so doing, many regular people have lost their careers, their homes, their lives because of divisive Cannabis law, drafted by profiteers who were oblivious of the harm that they were creating. And for what? Greater freedoms for big business? Really? 
Nothin’ personal. Jus’ business as usual…

I’ve been told that, I’m

Not willing to compromise.

The fact is, they’re right. Oh, I have tried. It’s just that, I have a hard time rating one person’s personal freedom over another. But I understand. If you’ve never witnessed hopeless poverty, never sat at someone’s bedside, in someone’s home or hospital rooms. If you’ve never been forced to experience the fear and the suffering first hand, or perhaps even second-hand, then perhaps you haven’t had that life-changing moment.  For me, it happened long before my involvement with Cannabis. I used to visit people’s homes and hospital rooms.  Church members, their children and friends…and people I worked with.  When you’re in the presence of someone who is very sick or dying, it takes on a whole different level of seriousness. Way more so when it’s a child. I’ve met a lot of parents who would testify to that fact.

Years ago, I was asked to speak at a Cannabis hearing in Topeka. What we would be willing to “Compromise” was the rule of the day. Within the packed courtroom, following yet another cold and heartless remark from the “moderator”, I turned with others who were standing and looked around. Behind us were lines of children and adults in wheelchairs. I realized, a better way to put it was, “Who were we willing to sacrifice?”
Truly, that was really the point, just like it is now. Who is it within our number that isn’t worthy of their share, their freedom? Society would say it should be the weakest ones.

When it comes to Cannabis law and “Compromise”, everyone wants a piece of the pie…

No doubt, there are times when a compromise is necessary. When it comes to basic freedoms, like access to Cannabis, there really is no gray area. No portion of freedom left to bargain away. The law must be sufficient for us all.

Cannabis is nontoxic. Cannabis is food. Cannabis is the single most important medicine of the 21st century.

For REAL Cannabis legalization, without “compromise”,

checkout Cannabis Restoration Plain and Simple“.

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