Pennsylvania is the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana, and the first dispensary is due to open this month.
Colorado started with medical marijuana and now allows legal recreational sales. Business is booming. There were over $1 billion in legal herb sales in Colorado last year. This does not account for the underground market, which is still here and probably stronger than ever.
Cannabis tourists come here. They join long lines of local and regional recreational users waiting for their turn at the counter. It could be argued that some retailers are selling overpriced, overgrown and overblown weed and edibles. Customers don’t seem to mind.
State representatives in Pennsylvania may be astounded when they see how many “sick” 24-year-olds are lining up for “prescriptions.” A resident can explain to a doctor that they suffer chronic pain. The doctor’s permission slip gets them in the dispensary door.
Why wouldn’t every stoner sign up?
In Pennsylvania, kids with white lab coats, saggy pants and backwards ball caps will greet customers, sharing their expertise about indica, sativa and hybrids. Are you going to listen to music? Watch a movie? Run a marathon? There are different strains that do different things. The medicine man awaits and knows what you need.
Even in conservative communities $1 billion is hard to resist.
But what about stoner gun owners?
It turns out that federal law prohibits marijuana users from owning guns or ammunition. Pennsylvania law enforcement is warning new medicinal marijuana patients that they have to make a choice between medicine and machine guns. Can’t have both.
You can be a deranged lunatic and own an assault rifle, but you cannot use any form of marijuana and legally possess any gun.
“Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medical purposes … is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition,” ATF spokeswoman Janice L. Kemp said in an email to The Associated Press.
The AP quotes Phil Gruver, a 22-year-old car detailer, saying, “It’s a violation of my Second Amendment rights.”
This may be a stretch, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many gun owners feel the same as Gruver, and own firearms and smoke bud.
We have laws that some of us agree with and laws with which some of us don’t. We have laws being ignored all over the place all the time by almost everyone. Who among us has not run a stop sign in the country, or much worse?
Law enforcement enforces certain rules but not others. The situation is fluid.
In the AP article, Mr. Gruver notes that most stoners aren’t the type to get up and start shooting.
“I don’t know of any time anyone’s been using marijuana and going out and committing acts of violence with a gun. Most of the time they just sit on their couch and eat pizza,” he said.
From personal experience I have to agree with Gruver. I recently saw a friend who was stoned to the point of stupefaction. He was docile, hungry and harmless. If he had reached for a handgun as fast as he had reached for seconds on the pumpkin dessert, we all would have been in trouble. But he didn’t. My man was a mellow vegetable. The edibles he’d consumed and blunts he had smoked had slowed him down. He was operating at a different speed. Happy and at home.
Just like the federal laws regulating marijuana, the federal prohibition on weed users having guns is not often enforced, but that could change or differ from state to state.
Republican Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it known that he doesn’t like weed or those who use it.
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” he said.
He wants to enforce the marijuana laws that are on the books but were relaxed in 2014, however not revoked.
Meanwhile, California has opened the financial floodgates and legalized recreational use of the shrub. California’s weed habit is a genie that will be hard for the federal government to put back in the bottle.
Imagine if drunks, prescription-pill prescribers and pickup drivers were not allowed to possess firearms. Add them to the stoners, and no one would have a gun!
Savvy sellers are making a fortune, and kids are moving to Colorado just to exercise their rights and enjoy the Rocky Mountain vibes. Can you blame them? They come here to enjoy the mellow vibes and work in the industry as trimmers and bud tenders.
Other states are following our lead, with citizens voting for freedom and legislators looking to make budgets.
And the weed itself? Everything has changed. Nowadays, many legal nuggets are grown at factory farms, using chemicals, minerals, mite killers and blossom boosters to produce the most astounding female buds as fast as possible for the most profit.
Steve Skinner thinks some (attitude) adjustments are in order. Reach him at email@example.com.