So, marjiuana has been in the headlines regularly for the past few years, and more than just the same old “Reefer Madness” territory.
America was given the fruitcake of policy gifts with the notion that medicinal marijuana could pass anywhere – since after all, the Fed still classifies things Devils Lettuce as Schedule 1. After all, they’re dealing with the heroin of vegetables. Except really, heroin is the heroin of vegetables, since poppies and such.
Regardless, this fruitcake kept getting passed around like the proverbial joint – moving from state to state until it found a home willing to claim it for good. A few “takers” emerged.
Now, it has appeared that North Dakota, of all places, has joined the fight. According to Ballotpedia, the state’s voters overwhelmingly (67-33) voted to approve medicinal marijuana in the last major election. Surprisingly, legislators have dragged (or is that drug, because ithinkitisandsodoyou) their feet to implement this policy, with some reportedly going so far as saying “The people don’t know what they voted for.”
Now, the state’s people, fed up by decades of jokes concerning woodchippers and Best Dakotas, or just flat-out “Who?” are rebelling, and moving forward toward full legalization.
It’ll never fucking happen, because this is the Trump era. The Jeff Sessions era. The “Return to Weed Mania” era.
But it should happen. There are myriad reasons for that, and I’ll try to go into that now.
And by try I mean will.
Let’s start with something that should be obvious, given the initial reference points of this narrative.
If North Dakota (or Best Dakota, as the residents like to call themselves), has come around to the possibility of full legalization, then it must be time. NORTH DAKOTA, where people voted for Trump simply because they forgot that at many times in their past that they as a state were more of a Compromising Purple instead of a bright shade of Communist Red (source: various ‘pedias, and history, DUH), then it goes to follow that Reefer Madness has been rejected fully. If N.D., the most conservative of flyover states, has allowed the petition for full legalization to materialize, then look out, jazz music is on its way next.
Years ago, I was sitting on the lawn at my dad’s ranch. We were enjoying the afternoon and the sunlight, with its random cloudy shade and light breeze. Beer may have been involved.
Dad, a longtime Agricultural Producer and moderate conservative said, “I wish they’d stop bothering about that marijuana. If it helps people find relief, then let people find relief already.”
The shock on my face may have been fairly apparent. See, older siblings of mine, having lived through the terrifying years of the Just Say No 80s and 90s, were staunch drug prohibitionists. They’d tell me about it too, as they drank their banquet beers (that’s a Coors Original, for all ya’ll outside of the Midwest).
I would have been surprised to hear those assholes push to repeal drug prohibition (or at least, weed legalization). Although they got dangerously close when sibling 3, whom I will call Libertarian Steve, talked about “people doing what they want without the boot of government on his neck” and sibling two, whom I shall call Andy Andersson, preached how veterans should be able treat their PTSD in any way they saw fit.”
My guess is that both Steve and Andy had some secrets they didn’t quite know how to share. Which is funny, since they all knew that I’d dabbled in the Devil’s Lettuce in high school and again later, after a deployment had concluded.
But it’s hard to shake the Just Say No mentality. Escaping cults is ridiculously hard.
So it was a surprise for me, first when I heard Dad admit that it was more trouble to outlaw it than it was worth, and then later, when two-thirds of North Dakotans agreed at the polls.
Anyway, I guess we’ll see what happens in the next year. The state itself might be a microcosm for the country. I can’t see N.D. legalizing medicinal marijuana just for the rest of the red states to sit back and do nothing. Having split my time among Minnesota, Florida and Maryland for work, folks here (yes, all three places can be “here” at the same time) were mighty surprised by this development.
So we salute you, N.D.! You may have tried chasing out all the young talent a couple decades ago, but some of your Boomers and Veterans are apparently siding with the Millennials on this one.
Godspeed, and pass the salad.