What’s all the fuss about legalizing marijuana use in Louisiana? Intended changes to medical marijuana laws would get the state there anyway.
Since the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee last week sent to the floor HB 699 by Republican state Rep. Richard Nelson, which would make legal marijuana cultivation, sale, and purchase, as regulated by the state, public debate has focused on the wisdom of the drastic change. Some suspect this will become inevitable while others say to hold off because the regulatory regime will botch any salutary criminal justice and economic effects, and the most traditional point out the negative effects that will outweigh any positive ones.
But the fate of this bill doesn’t matter much given the impact another bill has on the question of legal availability of weed. HB 391 by GOP state Rep. Tanner Magee would complete a multi-year process that began with limited distribution of marijuana for medical purposes that largely provided for (defined a bit generously) genuine needs that was not easy to abuse to one where about anybody who wants it for any reason can find it, as long as they have the cash.
The bill would remove just about all shackles from “recommendations” by doctors (because federal law makes prescribing illegal) for its use in any form for anyone for any “condition.” It does maintain the licensed production duopoly in the state affiliated with two university systems and the distribution network of pharmacies, but it allows to a single person up to 71 grams every two weeks – or the equivalent of 111 joints a week. Magee says the measure that will open up inhalable and raw pot use will bring down what for many he says is price prohibitive.
Seriously, dude. Now, how long after the bill would come into effect in 2022 will it be before a small number of licensed physicians who, through a combination of ardent faith in the healing properties of ganja and desire to make some bread, begin giving out recommendations left and right to people who self-report “suffering” from unspecified back pain, trick knees, social anxiety, and dysphoria of trendy and other kinds? And how long will it be before spliffs from these stashes begin to find their ways to friends and co-workers of the afflicted, or, worst of all, hit the streets?
You have to be an idiot not to see this coming, which means policy-makers willfully turned their eyes from this trajectory beginning when the initial effort to create a workable distribution framework ignored the science from the start. The fact that since then the steady, piece-by-piece, concerted effort to remove any meaningful constraints has culminated into this points to the fact that it never primarily concerned itself with health considerations, but with the state getting its monetary cut and revenue boost.
Hey, man, if HB 391 – already passed out of the House to the Senate – in anything like its present form makes it into law, HB 699 largely is mooted. HB 391 does the heavy lifting to make hooting up main stream in Louisiana, but at least its passage would give legislators an excuse for legislating like they are stoned, whether it comes only from contact highs.