Why the Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way

MJA CB

By Jim Patterson, Opinion Contributor – 08/16/17 02:10 PM EDT

Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. To some, this bill may look like another liberal attempt to push for widespread legalization of marijuana across the country. But for those of us who work in this industry and understand the complexities and inequities of current marijuana policies, the bill is a bold step forward in transforming the industry as we know it.

I recommend that anyone who questions why marijuana should no longer be illegal under federal law, take the time to watch Sen. Booker’s three-minute video explaining his legislation. It will shine a light on how marijuana policies have negatively impacted targeted communities, specifically low-income communities of color. This bill seeks to undo some of the damage that Booker aptly describes as, “the unjust application of the law and economic bias.” For example, the bill would expunge convictions for those with marijuana use and/or possession charges at the federal level which, in turn, will allow for greater access to education and economic opportunities.

As CEO of a company which works in the legal marijuana industry, it is a priority for me that this industry gives everyone a fair and equal playing field. On a daily basis, I meet and speak with entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in becoming a part of the marijuana industry because of its huge growth potential and opportunity.

However, with opportunity come risks, and in this industry we take financial, legal and professional risks. That said, there is a large segment of the population that is not at the table for these types of discussions because they were previously targeted during the war on drugs and now cannot fully participate in the state legal boom of this business.

For them, the risks are still too high under marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to change this by taking steps to fix the system so that marijuana is not just legal, but that the industry as a whole can move forward in a direction that we can be proud of.

Additionally, this legislation is important because it would also address a number of challenges marijuana businesses face such as lack of access to ordinary banking services. It would also move towards regulating the marijuana market as a whole and by regulating legal access, it would discourage and replace illicit drug activity.

I applaud Booker for introducing thoughtful legislation that would legalize the industry in the “right” way and that truly has the ability to move the ball forward on some of the historically negative aspects of this industry. Now is the time for the federal government to acknowledge that marijuana should be legal and removed from the list of controlled substances.

A recent CBS News poll showed that 71 percent of Americans oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and use in states that have legalized it, and 61 percent of Americans want marijuana legal across the country. Additionally, in the first six months of this new Congress, over a dozen bi-partisan bills have been introduced aimed at moving marijuana policies and regulations forward. Like Booker’s legislation, these bills acknowledge that updated marijuana laws and policies will bring a plethora of economic and social benefits to our country through increased job opportunities and tax revenues.

Congress must acknowledge the position of the majority of the American public and respond accordingly. I call on lawmakers to support this legislation and will be doing my part to raise this bill as a priority in the technology, transportation, policy and marijuana business communities eaze is a part of.

Jim Patterson is the CEO of eaze, a cannabis technology that connects people to doctors and dispensaries for on-demand consultations and deliveries.


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

CONTINUE READING…

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Genesis 1:29

14459056_1790391791244808_2083831152_n

Here is an essay that I’ve written to the News Enterprise, the Courier Journal, the Lexington Herald, Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Brett Guthrie, Matt Bevin, Rick Sanders, and the Kentucky Medical Association. I’m still looking for more people to write to, but I thought you might appreciate it. Love what you guys are doing, and keep up the great work! –Joshua

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29

Those are the very first words that God spoke to mankind. He told us that He Himself made every herb, and He has given us every single one of them.

Cannabis being legalized isn’t just about the fact that the Controlled Substance Act is grossly unconstitutional, that mothers and fathers are going to prison and having their children ripped from their homes, that Congress abuses the Commerce Clause to tell us what we cannot have in our own homes and bodies, or the countless lives that have been destroyed because of the failed War on Drugs. Cannabis is a God given right.

The governments tell us God was wrong; that He made a mistake. Why should anyone, whether they support legalization or not, stand for such a thing? Cannabis laws have nothing to do with helping anyone, nor do they have to do with money. The government uses cannabis to invade the rights of everyone. The DEA has put GPS tracking devices on vehicles, they have intercepted millions of American’s phone calls, they can open your mail, and they can search your home or car without a warrant by simply saying, “It smelled like marijuana”.

The Commerce Clause of the Constitution says that Congress has the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes”. From this single sentence, Congress created the Controlled Substance Act. This is how it works:

Congress has the authority to control “interstate commerce”, or commerce between state lines. Commerce within state lines, or “intrastate commerce” is supposed to be regulated by the individual States. However, Congress says that it is not feasible for law enforcement to know whether cannabis is being sold or was obtained through interstate commerce, so they regulate the intrastate commerce as well.

In 2002, Angel Raich’s home was invaded by DEA agents who destroyed her six medical cannabis plants. Raich took this to the Supreme Court, claiming that her plants were for personal use and obviously did not affect interstate commerce. The Court disagreed, stating that in Wickard vs. Filburn (1942), the Court had decided that growing wheat for one’s personal use was within Congress’s power to regulate. This essentially means that Congress has the authority to prohibit absolutely anything. If they wish to prohibit chairs, you cannot have a chair for personal use. They may also ban all materials used to “manufacture” chairs. This is not just about “drugs”. This is about our rights and liberties as American citizens.

The Controlled Substance Act says cannabis, or “marihunana” as it’s called in the Act, is a Scheduled 1 substance along with heroin and LSD, which means it has no acceptable medicinal value. However, Patent 6630507 is the U.S. Govenment’s own patent on the various cannabinoids present in cannabis. The government is lying, and millions of people are forced to use prescription drugs which have rampaged Kentucky and the country.

Yet alcohol, which must be manufactured and has destroyed countless lives, is sold and celebrated all over the country. The Scriptures have plenty to say about alcohol and why it is wise to avoid it. When God made all the plants on the third day, before there was ever a man to till the ground, cannabis grew without any help. There is no need to “manufacture” cannabis. It’s a plant!

Some will say “But it’s against the law of the land!” Nonsense. The law of the land is that God made all plants and herbs, because the very first words that God said to man is “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed”.

God made it, and He made it for you. He made it because He loves you. He made it to bring you health, wellbeing, and to supplement your endocannabinoid system, which He also made. Nobody has the right to tell you that you can’t have that which God explicitly said is yours.

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth” Psalm 104:14

If you have access to the internet, I urge you to research whether these things are true. Search where Congress draws their power for the Controlled Substance Act, the endocannabinoid system that exists in every human, Patent 6630507, and the history and science behind this very ancient herb. Then contact our representatives and tell them that we will not stand for having our rights trampled on any longer; because we are Kentucky, we are patriots, and we believe the Word of God.

(Written and received from an “Anonymous” reader, sk.)