Some things were doomed concepts to begin with, privatized colonization of non-terran environments, for one, Elon Musk should be smart enough to know it’s a bad idea; but legal recreational marijuana was a good idea with real life, up until the voters of a few densely populated boroughs of New York City decided to kneecap the last candidate willing to insure those states who have progressed on this issue continue to have the freedom to do what is right in their communities. In my first article addressed the gulf between Sanders and Clinton on this issue; specifically how it is much wider than the Clinton campaign would like you to believe. I am here now to explain the personal loyalties and philosophical underpinnings of Hillary Clinton that tell me she will not apply the law favorably towards recreational cannabis.
Hillary Clinton has recently become enamored by her trail of battles as a champion of progressive causes; but wants to ignore her career as a corporate lawyer and a friend of big pharma, for profit prisons, and tough drug enforcement. The Weed Blog picked up our Hillary Clinton feelings on marijuana as well. Whether you say ‘qui bono’ or the follow the money Hillary’s history and donor lists point to a big business friendly candidate. Where it thrives, recreational marijuana is an entrepreneurial treasure that challenges many entrenched business interests. Locally here in Oregon I can see the hand of our powerful bar and restaurant lobby working to keep us from having smoking clubs, I can also see the way new grower regulations are designed to force more patients to use the dispensaries rather than a direct grower to patient arrangement.
The invisible hand of the free market feels more and more like a creepy uncle the more it caresses my medicine of choice. Whatever gains are made in opening the medical market by rescheduling marijuana are going to go to big pharmaceutical companies that will devise controlled and metered and overpriced methods of providing cannabinoids via inhalation or ingestion. Her schedule 2 marijuana will mean every medical grow is now subject to FDA regulation. Every dispensary will need an on hand licenced pharmacist. The regulatory burden will force the small local businesses out and invite in the big retailers who already cope with those burdens and then some; retailers like her old client Wal-Mart.
The prescription for those without a prescription is far worse oh my brothers and sisters. As a regulated schedule 2 drug (alongside Oxycontin and Meth) recreational marijuana would find new opposition from those whose cannabinoid drug patents would have to compete with over the counter recreational marijuana. In order to protect the profitability of their patents they would have to invest heavily in lobbying against the expansion and even the existence of legal recreational marijuana. Couple that with the fight we already face from the private prison industry, which views any scaling back of the drug war as a threat to their profit model, and you can see the future closing in on us. Clinton era policies on crime and particularly drugs shaped the private prison industry into the goliath it now is. Hillary has had to return some private prison industry money, in order to keep favor with certain demographics, but she hasn’t returned any big pharma money and if she’s going to move forward on health care reform, I think you can bet there is a carrot somewhere to go with that stick.
Beyond the economic forces that would align against us with a schedule 2 classification; there is no precedent for an FDA regulated schedule 2 drug to have a recreational designation. There is no recreational Adderall, no recreational Vicodin; why should we believe the new designation won’t be used as reason to bring down recreational where it exists.
So now I speak directly to cannabis voters in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. If you are able to vote in your state’s Democratic primary please consider the actual repercussions of Clinton’s stated cannabis policy, the potential for a further roll back of our already limited and hard won rights, and her history of wavering political alliances to further her career; and remember that Bernie Sanders has legislation pending in the senate that removes cannabis from the U.S. criminal code.
If you are not eligible to vote in your state’s Democratic primary I ask you to go, as close as local law allows, to the polling place, with a sign to remind Democratic voters, in closed primary states, that Independent voters support Bernie Sanders and his position on cannabis reform. For anyone who considers this an important matter for the next administration, the difference between these two candidates cannot be further apart, and after New York, Tuesday’s primaries could not be more important.