The marijuana reform movement started simply enough some 30 years ago. People who wanted to eventually see marijuana legalized across the country began with an incremental approach that focused on medical consumption. It was a strategy that proved invaluable in one state after another. But now, decades later, the movement has become a spider web that has pulled in other issues that should have nothing to do with it.
One can hardly turn on the news these days and not hear a story that somehow manages to be tied in with legal marijuana. If it is not gun rights for medical cannabis users or social justice warriors seeking ‘cannabis justice’ (whatever the heck that means), it’s something else. Marijuana reform has become a far-reaching topic that appears to know very few limits.
The Second Amendment Issue
On its own, the marijuana reform movement is about decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level. Decriminalization would legalize marijuana across the country and hand both federal and state regulators some measure of control. It would also have huge impacts on federal and state taxation. But beyond that, there are other issues. One of them is the second amendment.
Federal law prohibits cannabis users from owning or possessing firearms. There are no exceptions. Even police officers are disqualified from gun ownership and possession if found using cannabis. This creates an interesting conundrum. It is a conundrum that pits cannabis rights against gun rights. And strangely enough, it brings together people who are normally on opposite sides of the political spectrum.
Marijuana legalization, as a political movement, is normally associated with the left. Gun rights are pursued mainly by the right. But under the current climate, both groups want the same thing as far as the second amendment: they want cannabis users to have the legal right to own and possess firearms. It would almost be comical if one didn’t understand the old adage that says, ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’.
It All Began With Medical Cannabis
An alien visiting our planet for the first time might wonder how we ever got to where we are now. It all began with medical cannabis. With the ulterior motive of eventually getting to complete decriminalization, marijuana advocates pleaded with lawmakers to give people with legitimate medical needs access to cannabis as a medicine. That strategy still plays well today.
For example, Utah is one of the states that currently allows medical cannabis. Any state resident with a medical cannabis card can walk into Park City’s Deseret Wellness pharmacy and purchase a variety of cannabis products. It is a safe bet that the average Deseret customer just wants to feel better. They just want relief from whatever symptoms is causing the problem.
Yet behind the scenes, there are pro-marijuana advocates in Utah who are not content with medical cannabis alone. They have never been content with it. The goal is, and always was, complete decriminalization. Even now they are lobbying lawmakers to give recreational marijuana the green light. That is how we got from where we were to where we are.
The modern marijuana reform movement still relies on medical cannabis to gain a foothold. But it has also turned its attentions to second amendment rights, social justice, states right, and a whole host of additional issues. It has become a political spider web capable of entangling politicians and bureaucrats. Who could have foreseen this 30 years ago?
Come to think of it, none of us has escaped the web. It has entangled us all to one degree or another.