Pubdate: Wed, 13 Apr 2016
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Column: Higher Ground
Copyright: 2016 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock
Author: Larry Gabriel


Will the marijuana game change this year?

There has been a good bit of speculation that President Obama will 
reschedule marijuana before he leaves office. I first heard that 
concept a couple of years ago from somebody at one of the national 
marijuana policy organizations. I took it for wishful thinking. We 
can wish Obama reschedules marijuana, but that doesn't make it true.

But maybe we can stop holding our breath about that. Last week the 
Washington Post reported that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) sent 
out a memo to lawmakers that it plans to decide in the first half of 
2016 if it will reschedule marijuana. I'm assuming that the "first 
half of 2016" means by the end of June.

Cannabis, the scientific name for marijuana, is listed as a Schedule 
1 drug by the DEA. Schedule 1 drugs are, by definition, those "with 
no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." 
Schedule 1 drugs are considered the most dangerous drugs of all. In 
addition to marijuana, heroin and LSD are in the same category.

Rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug, probably the most likely 
scenario, would put it in the same category as morphine, cocaine, and 
oxycodone - drugs that are considered to have a high potential for 
abuse but have a currently accepted medical use in the United States. 
There are some who advocate descheduling marijuana entirely, but I 
don't think that's going to occur.

Rescheduling the plant will at least open the door to access for 
scientific researchers. Many of the prohibition forces are using the 
"we don't know enough about it" argument to oppose loosening the 
laws. Personally, I think that's a pile of crap. There have been a 
few government-funded studies that had the results shelved after they 
had little to complain about when it comes to marijuana. President 
Nixon's 1972 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse called 
for decriminalization. Nixon ignored that and kicked off the War on Drugs.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law Deputy Director 
Paul Armentano has pointed out that a search of the PubMed database 
of biomedical literature shows results for more than 20,000 published 
studies or reviews referencing cannabis, including more than 100 
controlled clinical trials. Add to that the thousands of years of its 
medical use, and I think we know plenty about marijuana. More than we 
know about a lot of drugs that are currently prescribed to children.

The problem is that the prohibitionists can't find enough things 
wrong with marijuana, so they hide behind a feigned ignorance. 
Marijuana prohibition has been a massive disinformation and 
criminalization campaign aimed mostly at blacks and Hispanics, as any 
look at statistics will show. Numerous people have had their lives 
destroyed, not by marijuana, but by the prohibition and 
criminalization of a mostly benevolent plant.

There is another shoe to fall soon beyond rescheduling marijuana. The 
United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs 
will take place in New York April 19-21 in order to reassess 
international drug policy. The general environment of this discussion 
is better for advocates of policy reform than any other time in the 
past 30 or more years. The United States, the chief architect and 
enforcer of worldwide drug policy, has grown a bit weary of its role 
in this unsuccessful endeavor. In addition, legalization and the 
legalization movement have made this country look pretty lame when it 
presses other nations to fight against marijuana use.

UNGASS (yes, it sounds like a product offering relief for flatulence) 
watchers are predicting that the days of a unified, worldwide policy 
are over, as various, mostly Western, countries are beginning to 
change to harm reduction over prohibition.

While we have plenty of action on the issue going on in Michigan, 
with various bills in the legislature, a legalization initiative, and 
Detroit's move to shut 'em down, these federal and international 
polices have a ripple effect that could make local policies less 
onerous. And folks who want to point at the feds as trumping local 
laws will have one less argument to throw at you.

Hash Bash rear view

I've been to several Hash Bash rallies over the years, but this year 
was the first time I ever spoke at one. I've written about how the 
marijuana legalization movement has a mostly white face because 
dark-skinned folks are, understandably, reluctant to put themselves 
in the crosshairs. So when I was asked this year, I decided to stand 
up and speak on the subject that black, brown, and red folks get 
arrested for marijuana use at vastly higher proportions than white 
and yellow people.

I was one of a stream of a couple dozen speakers at the rally to 
speak up for marijuana. Comedian Tommy Chong and longtime activist 
John Sinclair were there, but I was surprised that the guy in a 
hoodie and Red Wings hat that I stood near for a while was retired 
hockey pro Darren McCarty. The four-time Stanley Cup winner, who has 
a history of struggling with alcoholism, told the crowd that with the 
help of marijuana, he hasn't had a drink in nearly six months.

He referred to marijuana as "medicine" and told the crowd: "Get 
educated. It'll save your life."

After I spoke I went into the crowd - estimated at 8,000 strong - to 
ask folks what strains they preferred to use. There was a real 
generation gap here. Younger folks knew their strains. The older gang 
had a basic answer of, "Whatever my dealer has," or, "The kind that 
gets you high."

Among those who knew their strains, Cookie Dough, White Widow and 
various permutations of Kush got a lot of mentions. I've never had 
any of these strains that I know of. I guess I could have asked 
somebody for some, but I'm kind of a do-your-business-at-home guy who 
prefers to not give police extra reasons to arrest me (hey, I'm 
black) by smoking in public and getting behind the wheel of a car.

One woman told me she likes Cookie Dough because, "It gets you stupid high."

I checked out the strain on the website. It lists Cookie 
Dough as a sativa-indica hybrid with a 25 percent THC level, with CBD 
and CBN that ranges from zero to 10 percent. That's a pretty high THC 
level, which probably accounts for that "stupid high" feeling. Allbud 
claims that the main medical effect of Cookie Dough is "analgesic." 
That means it's a good painkiller. It is also considered a good 
stress reliever and has a sweet, minty flavor.

The high THC content also indicates that it would be a good strain to 
make Simpson Oil with, if you are trying to treat cancerous tumors.

I've been hearing about White Widow a lot lately. A few weeks ago, 
Sinclair told me that White Widow is his favorite. He said that his 
favorite supplier in Amsterdam always has it. The social event that I 
ran into Sinclair at trended toward an older crowd, and John was the 
only person who knew a specific strain that he liked. Yep, I'm asking 
a lot of folks what strains they like these days., a website that assesses strains, points out that White 
Widow was first developed in the Netherlands from a Brazilian sativa 
and a South Indian indica. No wonder Amsterdam has plenty of it - 
although Leafly lists it as very popular in Detroit. It's a 
sativa-indica hybrid (I believe the majority of what is out there are 
hybrids) one reviewer described as good, "pretty much anytime you're 
not trying to sleep or get locked. Very cerebral head high with 
enough body buzz to relieve a little pain."

Another reviewer wrote, "They call it White Widow because after three 
hits, you're going to want to clean your house."

Well that doesn't sound like couch potato stuff to me. I'd like to 
know about what kind of cannabis you prefer. Drop me a message and 
tell me what strain(s) you prefer and tell me why. I want to dig into 
this subject a lot more.
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