One Tennessean’s Opinion on Cannabis Issues in Our State

According to sources (links below), Tennessee is consistently among the top five states in terms of marijuana production, as measured by the number of plants seizured by law enforcement.

Often, Tennessee is number two in marijuana production only because it’s only bested by the much larger western state of California. Occasionally, we fall in at number three behind our enterprising cousins to the north in Kentucky.

In simple terms, the state of Tennessee is producing a lot of marijuana every year. And we are producing a lot of marijuana, every year, in spite of 80 years of prohibition and The War On Drugs, in spite of the U.S. becoming Incarceration Nation, where we have more people in prison than any other nation on earth. In spite of all this, people just keep growing and using marijuana.

The marijuana that is grown in Tennessee right now is being illegally produced, of course. It is untaxed. It is unregulated. It puts money in the pockets of people who are willing to operate outside the law, which obviously would include organized crime. Also, it is easier for children to get their hands on illegal marijuana than it is for them to get their hands on legal alcohol or cigarettes because it is the unregulated black market.

This is an ugly contrast to how things could be with legalized marijuana. Legalized marijuana would be taxed and regulated, it would not be putting money into the hands of criminals and organized crime. And it would certainly be harder for children to get their hands on it as legal markets require identification.

I’ve known people in other states who were in this business, and make no mistake, it is a business. There are investors, there are growers, pickers, distributors, and sellers.
There are employers, and their employees. People develop long term business relationships. It is a complete underground, untaxed, unregulated economy – worth billions of dollars.

It is impossible for me to see how to stop people from doing this in anything still resembling a free society (and we are already disturbingly close to a police state in the U.S. – Ahem). It is doubly impossible to stop when there is not only the profit motive, but also the passionate belief that marijuana represents the good, the right, and the just. Many people who grow marijuana believe with all their hearts, that they are helping sick people, and fighting an evil and corrupt state.

Given these conditions (which already exist, they are not a theoretical postulate) why do we keep fighting this with court and police resources ? If you truly believe marijuana is a bad thing, if you truly believe as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said, “I don’t think America will be a better place with a pot shop on every corner”, then don’t you think education would be a more rational approach to curb it rather than prohibition?

Cigarettes are legal for example, they are sold everywhere, and they are highly addictive. But fewer and fewer people smoke cigarettes every year. Nobody had to get arrested for this to happen. Nobody had to go to jail. No person was ever denied a potentially life saving remedy.

Think about it.

Here are a couple of links to do some research on it yourself if you are interested.

https://www.drugscience.org/Archive/bcr2/domstprod.html

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/marijuana-pot-weed-statistics-climate-change/

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