Soon, Everyone can be Happy, or High
Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
Perhaps, that will be better—or not; time will tell. Of course, I’m talking about the plant Cannabis sp., known as marijuana, the new “vice of choice.” As Money Morning reports:
Over half of the country, or 28 states, have legalized marijuana in some form. You see, the marijuana craze is sweeping the nation …
“Marijuana” or “pot” is rapidly becoming the new consumable vice of choice. Alcoholic beverages, like beer or wine, will soon be relegated to the back shelves. And tobacco, another favorite of past past-times is, well, past its recommended date of consumption too.
From the deserts in the far south to the frozen north along the shores of the Arctic, the cannabis plant appears to be spreading its roots. In Canada, where it is already available for medicinal purposes, as it was recently announced, the weed will become also legal as recreational drug in mid-2018. Then, presumably, you can buy your supply at government-regulated stores, or grow your own (limit of four plants per habitant). — What a change from former times.
Surely, the new government view represents a 180-degree turn from former times when anyone merely caught in the possession of some weed was sent to jail. In fact, the new policy is fostering a competitive race between state/provincial and federal authorities to “divvy up the pot” of the expected new revenues.
Already, some U.S. States and Canadian Provinces fear being left behind. Federal and local laws are not in sync, raids on private enterprises that jumped the gun are common, and the legal boundaries are not clear.
Not long ago, in fact even now, the powers of the state are still cracking down on all the weedy activity. And there is a lot of that. Just happened to walk by a “hole in the wall” downtown; there are people waiting outside to enter the place. Obviously, it’s a thriving business already, despite the current legal limbo. So, for the time being, “dispensaries” here in Canada are regularly being raided by police and the high quality product carted off to their local headquarters. I wonder what happens to the stuff there.
Previous government revenues from vices like alcohol and tobacco are dwindling. Between the steadily increased levels of taxation and the constant warnings about their danger to health and happiness, revenues have started to take their toll. Obviously, new revenue sources have become desirable (not that they ever are not). The “discovery” of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), by mass a minor constituent but the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant, as an agent that may also reduce pain, anxiety, and other ailments fits the bill just perfectly.
Some U.S. states, like California, Colorado, and Washington, have also jumped the gun and enacted various laws legalizing the material for medicinal and/or recreational use. Of course, control and taxation are part of the system. Colorado is claimed to derive already a major fraction of its revenue from that. And once hooked on the weed’s income, they are reluctant to let go of it. As reported, Colorado has already collected in the order of $150+ million in marijuana related taxes in the first ten months of 2016 alone.
Even if THC or smoking the weed provides the sought-after relief from pain by those suffering from it, for many it’s probably just a stepping stone to other, more powerful and dependency-creating drugs like heroin, etc. The steady and increasing flow of such powerful drugs from southern countries into the U.S. is not slowing down with the current liberalization process of marijuana. In fact, the opposite seems to be happening. The recent headline “HMCS Saskatoon, U.S. Coast Guard haul in 14.5 tonnes of cocaine” appears to prove my point. While a significant haul by the authorities, it’s a drop on the hot stone of consumption.
“Good” cannabis may just be the beginning of bigger and better views on vice-drugs in general, natural and synthetic. And the borderline between medicinal and recreational is unclear as well. For example, the cannabis plant also produces a whole series of closely related compounds of which THC is only a minor constituent but the most potent psychoactive one. In contrast, cannabidiol (CBD), by mass a major cannabis constituent, has little psychoactive effects. However, CBD is recognized as having medicinal properties against epilepsy and anti-oxidant and neuro-protecting effects (U.S. Patent 6,630,507, assigned to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) and as a pain-relieving agent.
Follow the Money
An old adage says so. It can be interpreted in different ways. If taxing pot is so lucrative, just imagine how much more tax revenue governments could get from more potent drugs. It might just help to balance the seemingly forever ballooning budget holes that are so prevalent in many jurisdictions. According to web sites like www.cannabisstocktrades.com:
Legal cannabis is the fastest growing industry in North America with sales projected to grow 250% to $22 billion by 2020.
No surprise then that pot-growing companies are growing even faster than the weed itself and investment advisors along with them. What could be better than getting high AND rich in one fell swoop? Of course, with such enticements, competition is not far away. Already the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association is suing the NY Health Department for its plan to allow new companies to grow and sell medical marijuana in New York. Can a “dot-pot” cannabis-meltdown be far behind?
One may want to ask: how high can the debt-to-GDP (“generally-doped-to-productive”) ratio rise before the monetary systems come to a screeching halt? Even the nomenclature for numbers with nine or more digits is not universal. But then who actually cares anymore how many zeroes a “trillion” or “quadrillion” really has? Isn’t it all “funny money” anyway?
As it appears, soon everyone can legally be happy, or high, or both—whatever the preference may be—at least for a limited time. Even the legendary Sherlock Holmes purportedly relished the weed.
About the Author
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles. Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.
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