Day 65. 65 days since I was last at work. It’s so surreal. It’s so strange. So – I don’t even know. How did we get here? How did it happen? I mean – are we any closer today to figuring out this Coronavirus than we were in January? It certainly doesn’t feel like it.
The first 20 years I was with the State, I could count on one hand the number of times we were closed early or closed completely for snow/hurricane/blizzards. It was unheard of. I remember sitting in the courtroom at 121 Elm Street New Haven, while hearing, and feeling, the wind of a hurricane blow outside while we did arraignments. I sat on the highway in a blizzard for hours one evening when they decided to let everyone in the state go home at 3:00. A half mile ahead of me, a jackknifed tractor trailer lay on its side. The only non-weather related events were a bomb threat, 9/11 and a prisoner who sent a crushed up aspirin in a letter to the prosecutor’s office.
So, as things started shutting down, we all shook our heads – said this isn’t a big deal. Then, we were put on “Priority One” cases only. That lasted exactly three days. On March 18th, we were told at noon, by email, that the Branch would shut down for two weeks for deep cleaning and sanitizing. At that point, the experts were still saying that the virus would peak in that time, and once we got past that, we’d be fine. By five o’clock when we left, that two weeks had turned into a month. That was 65 days ago.
It’s been 65 days of not knowing – of politicians flip-flopping – of confusing and contradictory opinions from so-called experts. It’s been 65 days of listening to politician after politician make this all about them and their own power trips. Executive orders that are Constitutionally flawed in their very nature. The suspension of almost every one of the first 10 Constitutional Amendments, especially the freedom to assemble, the freedom of religion (the mayor of NYC threatened Orthodox Jews with arrest for having funerals – literally Hitler). States shutting down commerce, free trade, restrictions on travel and movement. Threats of not reopening until every person has been given a non-existent vaccine. Law abiding American citizens could not purchase firearms, even as hoarding of food, medical supplies and sanitation products left store shelves bare and lines miles long at food pantries. People feared home invasions. And it was a real fear. I could go on and on and on.
What does all this have to do with medical cannabis? Glad you asked. You didn’t come here for me to talk about freedom of religion and firearms. You came to talk about cannabis. Well, here’s the problem with it. Dispensaries in all states remained open. Some states with recreational cannabis shut down their dispensaries to those in order to maintain the supply for the medical patients. But, what happens if the dispensaries are shut down? Or we have a breakdown of society to the point where going to the dispensary becomes too dangerous. What do medical patients who rely on it do in that case?
Well, that’s where home grow laws need to be looked at seriously. Very seriously. By allowing medical patients to grow a certain amount of cannabis in their own home, without threat of law enforcement, is the next big fight we have. Why can I grow a plant in my house that helps with skin care (aloe), but I can’t grow something that helps with my chronic pain? It really makes no sense. And please, before anyone says anything about cannabis and psychoactive properties and lectures me about THC, let me ask you, do you support a person’s ability to brew their own beer? Make their own wine? After all, alcohol is an intoxicating substance. It’s considered a drug. Yet, here we are.
I often say that in my 30+ years in the criminal justice system, I have never heard of someone smoking a bowl, getting pissed off and beating up family and strangers alike. All a toker wants to do after smoking a bowl is stare at the wall and eat Doritos dipped in ice cream. And the only time they are going to get violent is if someone has stolen the Doritos and ice cream. And that’s only going to result in them throwing a spoon into the freezer. Then, they will sit down, and continue to contemplate the wall. Alcohol, on the other hand, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have typed in a transcript: the Defendant was under the influence of alcohol when he/she assaulted…
Here’s my point. We need to push for home grow for medical users. I’m a realist and I know that we have to take what we can get. Remember, and you’re going to get tired of reading these words, but 90 years of Reefer Madness has brought us to this point. I have some rather conservative right-wing friends – straight as an arrow. And they buy the reefer madness indoctrination hook, line and sinker. I actually had one tell me one night that he would actually see someone with alcohol and/or cocaine/opiods in their system with a firearm than someone with cannabis. We have a long and hard road ahead of us to get legalized home grow passed. But, we can do it. Look how far medical cannabis has come in the past few years. We can certainly move the narrative forward. We have to keep fighting for the right to grow a plant.
How much more are we willing to give up in our civil rights? Why can’t I own a gun and have medical cannabis? Because the government says I can’t. The same government that says I can’t put a water filtration system in my back yard and catch rain water. The same government that says I can’t grow a plant because they deem it bad, based on 100 year old racist prejudices. Seriously, watch the movie Reefer Madness. This is where the prevailing attitudes about cannabis in the United States has come from. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, has fully legalized cannabis. Mexico is heading in that direction. I know of people who are booking “weed weekends” in Canada – well, they were before Covid-19. Cannabis vacations are a big business for Colorado and California.
I don’t want to sound like I am all for corporate cannabis. Yes, my personal preference is to get cannabis from a dispensary. I have talked about that in previous posts. I like knowing where it came from and knowing that it’s not been cut with something that might not be good. So, why can’t I get seeds or seedlings from the dispensary and grow my own plant? It’s a plant. I can grow tomatoes – and I’m allergic to those, so I would end up dead because of that plant. Heck, someone could die because they grew mushrooms, and not the psychedelic ones either – plain old mushrooms. Or they could find mushrooms growing in the wild – and they could be poisonous. What’s my point? My point is that growing cannabis – from seeds or seedlings – from a reputable source is no more dangerous than growing many other plants. Or fungi. If you can brew a barrel of beer or a cask of wine in your basement, why shouldn’t you be able to grow a plant that could kill your pain.
I work with a guy – former cop. And boy – oh – boy is he indoctrinated in the cannabis/marijuana is a gateway drug and has no medicinal properties. Even after seeing a video of a Parkinson’s patient who, after just a few drops of THC oil, goes from total body dyskinesia to steady as a rock in less than five minutes. He still refuses to acknowledge that cannabis has any possible medical use. It’s sad. Very, very sad. Why do I say it’s sad? Because he has no interest in being educated. He has no room in his mind to think with an open mind. You have to be willing to acknowledge that we know more today than we did 100 years ago. You have to be willing to admit that 50 years ago hospitals allowed smoking in patients rooms. You have to be willing to admit that we now know that that is bad. Why can’t we acknowledge that something we thought was bad may be better than we thought it was? We have to reverse the indoctrination of 100 years ago. Imagine for one moment – he’s so indoctrinated that if a member of his family could be helped by medical cannabis, he would be against it. He is so indoctrinated that he would rather watch someone suffer through total body dyskinesia of Parkinson’s than accept relief from a plant.
It’s one-thirty in the morning – and here I am – sitting up on my laptop and actually watching Reefer Madness. It’s the colorized version, so it’s even funnier than the original. My sleep pattern has been all kinds of screwed up during lockdown. I might as well get some laughs with it. If you have Amazon Prime, it’s free to watch. In 1932, they called cannabis a narcotic.
There is some educational parts to it – the Feds originally held the position that since cannabis grew wild in practically every state in the country that their hands were tied. They couldn’t stop it. How did they stop it? With the very propaganda film that I am watching right now. I’m grateful that I moved my thinking to a more open minded process. Yeah – I was a rebellious teen – and I smoked weed more than a few times in high school and after high school. But, then I got indoctrinated by the criminal justice system. I can’t wait to be able to talk to my friend’s mom. I wonder how she got to that point. You know, a few years ago, I went to a neurologist about my migraines. I was on an extended release opioid at that time. When he saw that, he told me flat out that he would not treat me. In his opinion, you can’t possibly ever have a migraine if you are on an opioid. Even if that opioid is a low-dose, extended release and you never get the euphoria (high) that opioids give you.
You know, since I started on medical cannabis, I have only had a handful of migraines, where I used to get 15+ a month. Yeah – they were chronic too. Fibromyalgia will give you migraines. So will chronic Lyme Disease. Add in genetics and you have a recipe for migraine disaster. Yeah, being medically compromised is a fun thing. You know, once a woman in the store said to me that I was so lucky to have a disability because not only did I get good parking, but I also got a service dog. Yeah, lady! Chronic pain is the bomb!! And let me say, this wasn’t a woman who was a kid. This was a grown woman, in her 30’s, whom you would think would know to think before she spoke. Oh well. I guess not.
Well, I’m going to go to the kitchen and make myself a couple slices of cinnamon sugar toast with cannabutter on it. That will make me nice and buzzy and sleepy. We have to stop medical cannabis refugees from losing everything just because of a plant. End the discrimination. End the indoctrination. End the racist propaganda from 100 years ago.
Have a high day!