Come at Me: Bright Spots for Cannabis in 2016, But Always the Looming Specter of Prohibitionism - News | MERRY JANE
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Come at Me: Bright Spots for Cannabis in 2016, But Always the Looming Specter of Prohibitionism

As primary season continues, states are taking matters into their own hands.

by Tim Baker

by Tim Baker

In New Jersey last week, Democratic Assembly members Tim Eustace, L. Grace Spencer and Angelica Jimenez took a leaf out of Whoopi Goldberg’s book and introduced a bill that would amend the state’s strict medical cannabis laws for women suffering from menstrual cramps by allowing them access to cannabis-based medicines.

The bill comes as Goldberg, a longtime cannabis user, announced a line of cannabis products highlighting the plant’s use for female-specific pain relief. When responding to criticism that her product was geared toward too niche a market, Goldberg told Vanity Fair: “Hey, this niche is half the population on the earth. This seems to be people flippantly blowing [this conversation] off, which is what you get whenever you start talking about cramps.”

And she’s right, political discussions involving the vagina are difficult to get started, which is a fact that makes New Jersey’s bill, a basic one that would institute basic rights for a more than common condition, likely to be another in a long line of noble but failed efforts.

Regardless of the outcome, however, the New Jersey legislature has done well in making one of the first governmental mentions of the female gonads since Donald Trump suggested that there has to be “some kind of punishment” for women who seek abortions.

In the minds of Trump’s supporters, as long as the ends justify the means, almost anything is excusable, from “taking out” the families of suspected terrorists so another attack might be prevented to “punishing” women for family planning.

It’s not hard to see where the slope gets slippery—unless you happen to be in the grips of a right-wing, Ustashe-level, Trump-rally-at-a-speedway-furor. Under this kind of childish black and white political thinking, unpopular political items from cannabis to health care to income inequality could be subjected to similar ends/means thinking with the speed of a fleet of rascal scooters towards a Bear Bryant statue unveiling if someone with Donald’s penchant for exclusion is elected.

Cannabis and the rights of women to dictate what’s best for themselves are seldom paired together on the legislative docket, and during an election year featuring dialogue right out of the most hateful time capsule imaginable, efforts like New Jersey’s could very well exist in limbo until the country decides whether its future will involve a reactionary cartoon character as chief executive.

In Pennsylvania, a medical cannabis bill that’s been years in the making looks like it will finally get a vote—revamped and ready to allow the Keystone state’s patients access. On Wall Street, MassRoots, the cannabis industry’s largest social network, made history by filing to be the cannabis world’s first NASDAQ listed stock.

In Ohio, activists who shot down 2015’s Proposition 3 on the grounds that it favored corporate interests have positioned themselves at the forefront of 2016’s push for full legalization in the Buckeye Stage.

The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board reported that weed is more of a household staple for Washingtonians than bread, milk or wine. But despite all of these positive indicators for cannabis, the specter of the presidential race looms large over the weed question.

Since the Donald can’t be trusted to give a reliable answer on anything—“Catch too much flack? Walk it back” would have been his campaign mantra if Johnny Cochran-style rhymes were still en vogue—it’s impossible to tell what his actual position on cannabis will be is he’s elected.

He’s kept relatively mum on the subject, but like anything else in the Trump political agenda, cannabis is only one media prompt away from being Trump’s public enemy number one.

Maybe I should stop calling him a reactionary cartoon character.


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Tim Baker

Tim Baker is a New York-based writer and sometimes editor whose work has appeared in Newsweek, TV Guide, CBS and Discovery Special Editions, and can regularly be found at thrillist.com. He has an MFA in creative writing from The New School and also attended Hunter College of the City University of New York.



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