Well, history has been made (and you are all part of making it!): California has legalized “adult use” of cannabis, or what most call “recreational use.” This development will change the use of cannabis not only in California, but also throughout the United States and perhaps the world. And despite Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III’s threats, the clock cannot be turned back. Sanity with cannabis has returned, at least for the most part -- taxation, over-regulation, and Big Pharma still present real threats to using this wonderful herb in a rational and humane manner.
When referring to what's now occuring as “The Green Rush,” it is not only the fat cat capitalists who see big bucks coming down the road, but also our wonderful state and local governments. Cannabis represents a great cash cow for them by taxing everything associated with it to the hilt. And because of cannabis’ previous illegal status, and continuing federal illegal status, our elected officials feel free to push the envelop on “reasonable” taxation.
Of course, the danger here is higher prices for the user that will inadvertently push some back to the black market, with all the negative and unsafe aspects that that brings. This wouldn't be major cause for concern, except that policing of the black market is currently weak, and will, in all likelihood, remain so. For example, since legalizing medical cannabis dispensaries in San Jose, there has been a flourishing black market in illegal delivery services, which local law enforcement has not been able to control (according to them: not enough budget or personnel, despite a “control program” with over $2 million of annual budget paid for by the city's 16 legal dispensaries).
Another threat to rational and humane cannabis use is the over-regulation that we're currently experiencing. Thumbing through all the regulations that have been imposed, one might think we are dealing with highly radioactive nuclear material. The “devil weed” must be kept away from our kids, schools, churches, rehab centers, etc. We must account for every single plant, bud, gram, ounce, bite, etc. -- from seed to death, disposal, and/or consumption. Few lawmakers seem to realize that cannabis is a benign, beneficial plant that contributes to one's wellness -- both mentally and physically.
Yet another threat is presented by our fascination with pharmaceuticals (cultivated by the medical community and Big Pharma), and our belief that a synthetically made, highly concentrated chemical (an “active ingredient” that can be standardized for easy administration) is better than a plant-based product that has several chemicals in it.
Ever wonder why there is so much hype surrounding concentrates (THC and hemp-CBD, for example)? Could it be that it suits the large-scale concentrate makers and the hemp industry to focus on products that are easier to make, rather than better for you?
How many of you know that hemp-CBD offers a significant additional revenue source to the hemp industry for what would otherwise be considered a throwaway by-product? Is it better for you? Is it the most effective way to benefit from CBD’s properties? What about unknown side effects a concentrate may produce that doesn't appear with whole-plant cannabis? What about all the possible benefits and effects that are lost when manufacturing concentrates leads to loss of terpenoids, minor cannabinoids, and flavonoids?
I guess if your attitude is, “Hey, who cares? I just want to get stoned,” then all this does not matter. But even for recreational users, it would be similar to not caring about the entire beverage, but only about the alcohol in it. Different beers, wines, and hard liquors would be unimportant -- pretty boring if you ask me.